Implications of Brexit on Gibraltar's iGambling IndustryJuly 7, 2016 1:03 pm
On June 23rd, the UK voted to leave the EU, but just over two weeks later the implications of such a drastic decision are beginning to take their toll on the country’s economy with the pound exchange rate falling to near historical lows against the dollar, and investors now beginning to pull their funds out of the UK in favor of more stable economies.
Needless to say, many industries based in the UK are warning of challenging times ahead, but the overseas territory of Gibraltar’s online gambling industry is in a good position to ride the storm, according to the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA).
In Gibraltar, the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital across EU borders has naturally been seen as essential for the island’s hugely important online gambling industry which provides employment for thousands of people, as well as contributing around 25% of its GDP. The fact 94% of residents of the British Overseas Territory voted to stay in the EU had little bearing on the overall voting on the UK mainland, though, now leading to fear amongst Gibraltarians that major online gambling operators will choose to move their bases to country’s still in the EU, such as Malta. Trying to allay such concerns, the GBGA recently said that the impact of Brexit should not greatly affect the Rock’s regulatory framework, stating:
“At the moment and for the foreseeable future there is no change to the existing legal and political framework that our operators work within. We also note that European countries already have widely different regulatory regimes and many require our operators to have local licenses, the impact on our members is therefore likely to be minimal.”
While that may be true, Spain has long seen Gibraltar as part of its own territory since it was captured and ceded to Britain “in perpetuity” in 1713. Therefore, until a new free cross-border passage deal is agreed, the resentful neighbor could easily throw a spanner in the works should it decide to increase border restrictions following Brexit, thus making life difficult for the 3,400 online gambling industry workers who currently live in Spain but work in Gibraltar.