Gambling Tax Lowered in Gibraltar as Uncertainties Surrounding Brexit Remain

Panorama of Gibraltar seen from La Linea de la Concepcion

As concerns over Brexit continue, Gibraltar has lowered the gross revenue taxes that gambling companies must pay, as well as increasing licensing fees, in order to keep operators in the region.

Tax and license fee changes

Earlier this week, Albert Isola, Gibraltar’s minister for financial services and gaming, announced that B2B gambling entities, including operators of casino gaming and sports betting, will now be paying a 0.15% tax on yearly gross revenue. The previous rate was 1%.

Isola also said that the government of Gibraltar had been considering several models to replace the “flat rate” gambling charges that have been paid by license holders since 2005. While the tax rate did go down, the annual licensing fees are quite a bit higher. A B2C license will have a price tag of $132,000 (£100,000) and a B2B license will cost $112,000 (£85,000).

Isola said that there would be winners and losers under the new tax structure and the companies that would be affected the most had been warned and provided with advance information on why the changes were made.

On the changes, Isola said: “It is undeniable that the Gibraltar-based remote gambling industry remains the most significant in Europe, if not the world, but it is now sailing into headwinds. These are created by the uncertainties of Brexit and challenges around the EU market access.”

Currently, companies located in the region hold about 30 remote licenses. According to the minister, the Gambling Division is working with the Government and the Gibraltar Financial Service Commission on proposals involving cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology in the gambling industry and how they can support the economy as well as assist with gambling startups.

Bet365 announces Malta move

As a small peninsula located off the border of Spain, Gibraltar has long been a popular spot for gambling companies to call home. Online gambling dominates the country’s economy and the uncertainties surrounding Brexit could pose a threat to the region’s main money-maker. Gambling companies are on edge due to those concerns and a recent announcement by bet365 involving a move to Malta has some operators worrying even more.

As reported by VSO News, bet365 has confirmed plans to expand into the region of Malta, though the company says it is not leaving Gibraltar. The company reportedly bought property in Sliema, Malta, and will set up shop in the region in the future. Bet365 announced in a statement that it is taking on additional property and looking to recruit personnel in Malta to help support online operations. The company has plans to expand their infrastructure capabilities there.

Isola has downplayed the issues with Brexit and confirmed that bet365 is committed to their Gibraltar operations and workforce. The company currently has 1,000 employees in the region. Isola stated further that the government of Gibraltar is confident that they will secure a positive outcome for enterprises as the United Kingdom withdraws from Europe.