888 Holdings has applied for a Malta gaming license over fears about the status of Gibraltar after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union as a result of Brexit.
888 Holdings, a major gaming group based in Gibraltar, has applied for a gaming license from the Malta Gaming Authority, in fear that Brexit might affect their businesses. Because of Brexit, the current status of Gibraltar is unclear, and 888 is taking steps to ensure that they can continue to operate successfully without interruption.
The company is concerned that their businesses in Gibraltar may be affected once the UK is no longer a member of the European Union. Close to 25% of Gibraltar’s GDP is generated from the gambling industry, with many workers living in Spain. There is a fear that problems may arise due to possible new restrictions on freedom of movement.
As part of the EU, Gibraltar was able to benefit from the free movement of people, goods, and services across the border. This is what made the region so appealing to gambling companies. The region’s economy relies on the free movement of people across the Spanish border, and there is no guarantee of continued free movement post-Brexit.
In their annual report, 888 Holdings stated that they are considering moving their headquarters to Malta. Within the report, 888 created a special section that deals with future risks that gaming industry may face in Europe, including risks associated with Brexit. Most of the company’s business is drawn from the United Kingdom, so moving to Malta may provide greater security than remaining in Gibraltar.
The 888 report also stated: “The proposed status of Gibraltar in relation to the United Kingdom as a result of Brexit is at present unclear. If 888 were to remain registered, licensed and operating in Gibraltar in these circumstance, its ability to rely on EU freedom of services/establishment principles in supplying its services within the EU will be limited.”
The report continued: “Brexit could adversely affect economic or market conditions in the United Kingdom, Europe or globally and could contribute to instability in global financial markets, in particular until there is more certainty as to the form that Brexit will take and its effect on Gibraltar, the United Kingdom, and the EU.”
According to the report, 888 plans to obtain a gaming license in Malta and create a server farm in Ireland so that they can continue to serve the European markets with no disruption to business.
Staying in Gibraltar
While 888 Holdings is making the move to Malta, other companies on “the Rock” are standing their ground. Many leading online gaming and sports betting firms – including Yggdrasil, Lottoland, Bet365, BetVictor and NetEntare – are based in the region, which is considered a hub for the industry on a global scale.
According to Europeangaming.eu, Lottoland plans on remaining in Gibraltar, where they operate massive lottery jackpots and have more than 160 employees.
Nigel Birrell, the CEO of Lottoland, stated: “We began operating from Gibraltar in May 2013 and it has been the perfect base for our business, providing an excellent platform for our success…Our business is thriving and the benefits of staying in Gibraltar remain very strong indeed.”