One of the world’s largest betting companies, William Hill, is to open a satellite office in Malta as it prepares for Brexit.

"We are setting up a Malta office and a small initial organisation for our international facing business post-Brexit. All current locations are unaffected by the new operation," said chief digital office Ulrik Bengtsson, who had headed Betsson in Malta for many years.

The office in Malta is expected to employ a small number of employees.

“With William Hill's online customer base overwhelmingly in the UK, Gibraltar will continue to be its key operational hub post-Brexit. However, Malta provides an option for international operations should they be required after Brexit so an exploratory project team is being recruited with regulatory, legal and compliance roles,” a company spokesman said.

William Hill was founded in 1934, and employs more than 16,000 people in nine countries. In addition to the UK retail and Australia markets, its online business is headquartered in Gibraltar with its marketing and customer service functions in Israel, Bulgaria and the Philippines. It also has licensed websites in Italy and Spain, and William Hill US operates in the states of Nevada and Delaware.

Its group CEO Philip Bowcock recently told online gaming magazine EGR that Mr Bengtsson's appointment could signal new focus on Nordics and Central and Eastern Europe, as the company out renewed focus on international expansion in 2018 after strengthening its UK business last year.

The role of Gibraltar after Brexit has spooked other companies. Sports betting giant Bet365 has also decided to expand its operations in Malta, while keeping a “strong presence” in the United Kingdom enclave.

Read: Gambling giant Bet365 confirms Malta expansion