How will Brexit Affect Casino Players and Gambling?
Gambling is not unknown to the UK; instead, it contributes to the UK economy. Especially with the inception of Online Gambling, it has become a significant contributor to the UK’s economy. It is also estimated that almost half of the British populace has engaged in gambling, and a considerable sum is spent on betting each year. Therefore, Brexit’s consequences on this industry cannot be overlooked, and many people are anxious about it, mainly because of the taxes this industry pays.
There is another essential factor that should not be overlooked while discussing Brexit and its implications. The whole process of the UK exiting the UK is not all black and white, and many unknowns are surrounding the entire process. Therefore, any statement regarding the casinos and gambling is mere speculation until the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is complete.
Regulation and Licensing
It is a well-known fact that the UK has been stringent regarding gambling. Its rules are rigid. And for this reason, gambling has majorly been operated outside the UK for a long time. Subsequently, many people think that Brexit will not affect the gambling industry outside the UK borders. However, the operators did not need to have a license from the UK Gambling Commission before the gambling act of 2014.
After enacting this license, the operators who want to operate inside the UK with their servers working outside will also need a permit regardless. And after Brexit, if sites need to get new gambling licenses to be approved to appear in the UK, the players will find it hard to play at both – the new and existing online casinos in the UK. The other jurisdictions allowed by the UKGC include Malta, Isle of Man, and Gibraltar.
Brexit and Gibraltar
The rock of Gibraltar, which is currently considered the part of the UK, is one main concern of the United Kingdom regarding the Gambling Industry. This rock has been the subject of dispute between Spain and the UK for many years, and its situation looks more precarious given the current condition of Brexit.
Almost 98% of Gibraltarians want to remain as a part of the United Kingdom as they currently are and do not wish to share sovereignty with Spain. In 2002, approximately 99% of Gibraltarians voted to remain a part of the UK in a 2002 sovereignty referendum. Later in 2016, 96% of the Gibraltar inhabitants voted to stay in the EU in the Brexit referendum. Therefore, Gibraltar will also leave the EU if the United Kingdom exits the EU.
Future of Gibraltar
Gibraltar is home to about 60% of online casino companies. This ratio includes some of the major brands. Gibraltar’s future is one main concern of Brexit concerning the United Kingdom gambling industry. Gibraltar has been the subject of dispute for many years between the UK and Spain.
But the referendum in 2002 and then in 2016 showed that inhabitants of the rock want to be part of the UK. However, since Gibraltar is a part of the UK now if the UK leaves the EU, Gibraltar leaves it. This ordeal will significantly impact Gibraltar as around 60% of the inhabitants work in the gambling industry, live in Spain, and cross the border every day to work each day.
The future of Gibraltar and its betting industry majorly rely on the approach of the Spanish government. If they want, they can make it difficult for the workers to cross the borders. It would render Gibraltar challenging to access from both sides. If the land borders of the Girbaltarians is closed, they would have to leave the land by sea or plane. This way, employees of the gambling industry would be affected a lot.
There are about 30 gambling companies in Gibraltar the rock. These companies include online bingo operators, sportsbook operators, and casino operators, who are attracted to Gibraltar’s low taxation. Before 2014, fixed-odds gambling operations were taxed at just 1%, and many companies got attracted to this rock.
But after the new taxation rules of 2014, companies have been forced to move in line with Britain, and the taxes have been increased. Besides, they had to obtain the UKGC licenses, too, to have remained open to the UK players. However, it is favourable for companies to stay in Gibraltar for the time being.
The Single Market
The single market currently running throughout the EU has also opened up the industry to about 500 million people. However, it will be reduced significantly after Brexit and if the UK has to leave the market. There is also another possibility that after Brexit, many companies that are currently working in Gibraltar would want to leave it and relocate somewhere else. Gambling companies are indeed monitoring the Brexit, but still, there is no definite statement.
Problems for Players
After Brexit, companies will need new gambling licenses if they want to keep operating in the UK; and this will present a new challenge to the players looking for existing and new casino sites. Furthermore, difficulty in crossing borders and increased taxation in Gibraltar may also make the workers relocate. With the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the UK, nothing is confirmed. But if Brexit happens, it is going to affect many industries.
Currently, the EU creates a safe environment for the gambling industry and looks over it, but after Brexit, many other countries might exit the EU. Without the EU, each state will be setting its own rules for online gambling, which might get challenging for foreign gambling operators. This will also restrict the players, and they will have lesser options to choose from. The lack of legal protection will make the players vulnerable to exploitation.
Money laundering is a crucial issue in online gambling, and there are many regulations and restrictions regarding this. There is currently a treaty on the protection and freedom of the consumers, and many other vital areas are covered in the legislation. The UK is likely to leave this treat. However, there are plenty of other laws to prevent money laundering.
It is expected that not all of these laws will get changed, as not all of them wholly rely on the EU for their existence.
Many laws, regulations, and policies will change if Brexit happens. And all these things will affect the gambling industry, its rules, workers, players, and even the other countries. But as long as it does not happen, all these hypotheses have a little weight.