Gambling makes up a considerable part of the UK's economy. Various studies have shown that as many as half of the British population has engaged in some form of gambling, with a lot of money spent on betting yearly. Therefore, Brexit's impact, especially on this industry, is something many people have become anxious about, more so with consideration to the taxes collected from this industry.
However, before we start working through all possibilities on what might once the Brexit transition is completed, it is vital to state that there are still many unknowns surrounding the UK exiting the European Union, hence saying conclusively about the changes is not advisable at this early stage in the transition.
Only upon the full terms of the transition is complete can the gambling industry make its next plans. Until then, what is written here and on many other sites can only be tagged as 'anticipated changes’, and the implications can change at any given moment.
Continue reading to explore the anticipated impacts of Brexit on gambling regulation for both operators and the players.
Regulation and licensing
The UK has been known for its strict regulation regarding gambling. It has been operating outside the borders of Europe for a long time. Hence some may think that Brexit will not bring considerable impact on the industry. Before the gambling act of 2014, betting operators were not required to obtain a license from the UKG.C. Still, upon its enactment, all operators inside the UK, even those whose serves are offshore, were required to obtain this license.
Subsequently, punters may find it challenging to continue playing on their favorite sites or when joining new sites, as the various operators will be required to obtain new betting licenses to be allowed to operate in the United Kingdom. The other jurisdictions permitted by the UKG.C. are Gibraltar, Malta, and the Isle of Man. Therefore it is recommended to look up and compare UK casinos, especially as soon as the Brexit is completed, to find serious casino providers located in the UK who took care of proper new licenses.
Relocation of Gibraltar
For a long time, the UK and Spain have been disputing over 'the rock' of Gibraltar, which is currently considered a part of the UK. Brexit will definitely escalate this already existing tension between the two nations.
In the 2002 sovereignty referendum, close to 99 per cent of Gibraltar's people voted to remain a part of the UK Many years later, 96 per cent of the people also voted to remain in the European Union in the Brexit referendum!
With an estimation of approximately 60 per cent of the workforce working in the gambling industry who live in Spain, this presents a massive challenge if Gibraltar is made to leave the E.U. along with the United Kingdom, as the free movement between Gibraltar and Spain would come to a halt.
Additionally, Gibraltar is home to about 60 online casinos, and any changes to its attractive low rates would sure prompt them to opt for a better operating environment. Therefore, this region's betting industry's future is largely dependent on the successful transition of Brexit and the changes that would come along with it. Any measures to curb the free movement of its people in and out of its mainland would severely impact the gambling community as a whole.
The single market
The European Union single market comprises more than 500 million people. With the departure from the UK, this market will be reduced significantly. In fact, Brexit will cause the numerous betting companies which are currently located in Gibraltar to move and relocate elsewhere. Although nothing has been expressly stated to this effect, it is evident that the gambling companies closely monitor the situation and act accordingly should anything happen.
Problems for punters
Following Brexit, several gambling sites will have to obtain new betting licenses to get approval to service the UK market. This would pose a challenge to players who are looking for new or existing casino sites. Also, many workers in these gambling companies might find themselves in a similar predicament: whether to relocate to a new jurisdiction or not.
All these changes, such as unattractive taxation policies that might be due to new policies coming to effect, or difficulty in crossing to the mainland, will directly affect the industry as a whole. Another more significant concern is that, when the Brexit transition goes well for the UK, it will encourage other countries to follow suit and leave the European Union as well.
The betting industry would suffer blows when important countries leave the union because it is the EU that exercises monitoring over the member countries in a bid to create a safer industry. Without the union, each member would be required to form their own regulations regarding online gambling hence posing a huge problem to the industry at large.
This will also affect punters as the number of sites available might be significantly reduced, leaving players with only a limited number of sites to choose from. This reduction in competition would mean a reduction in promotions, bonuses, and incentives available. This does not only leave players to possible exploitation but will also lead to the rise of illegal gambling in society.
Many things would definitely change following Brexit. However, in essence, the betting industry will not be adversely affected by many practical terms.
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