How “Brexit” can affect to gambling in Gibraltar

Gibraltar has its own tax system and does not apply VAT, so it has become one of the highest per capita incomes in the world and is one of the largest owners of sports betting houses and online gambling operators. Within two years, when Brexit is effective, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union, and it is then, when these betting houses will be diverted to other countries where they could retain their tax advantages such as Malta, and those jobs covered by thousands of Spaniards would tend to disappear and would stop generating some of the wealth coming from those who cross the gate.

The rock appealing is undeniable; in recent years many multinational companies had moved their online betting operations to Gibraltar. In addition to the UK itself, other European states were losing companies in favor of the colony. One of the last strongholds to arrive was Bet365 which, in October 2014, announced the definitive transfer of all its operations to the Rock. As seen, it is a powerful sector.

The importance of online gambling in companies established in the United Kingdom in Gibraltar and the vote on 24 June in which it was decided the Brexit, “yes” to leave the European Union, brings with it consequences that affect the online gaming sector, such as for example there are thousands of Spaniards who reside in national territory and cross the gates of Gibraltar to work in the gambling sector. We do not know what will happen to these jobs when the United Kingdom separates from the European Union, but the probability of them disappearing is quite considerable. According to statistics, about 3,000 jobs are direct, and are generated in the online game sector of the Gibraltarian city.

Many citizens of Spain, who were unemployed, found their opportunity in Gibraltar in the gaming industry, covering administrative positions, design, web maintenance or customer service in different call centers. Now, those 3000 jobs, the majority occupied by Spaniards, are pending of decisions that United Kingdom will take when leaving the Eurozone. Possibly, these sports betting houses and online gaming operators will leave to other countries where they can maintain the tax advantages offered up until today by Gibraltar.

It will depend on the Community market share they are willing to lose. On the other hand, if Brexit is closed without a treaty with the United Kingdom, companies based in Gibraltar would automatically lose their license in Spain, since Spanish law requires them to be based in the EU or in the European Economic Area. “Their permit would decline and the result would be similar to the other European countries that have similar legislation. If they want to continue operating in these states they would have to move their addresses, “Lalanda said.

At this crossroads, Miguel Ferrer, spokesman for the Spanish association of digital gaming, believes that Spain could play a more active role for companies seeking new locations. “Regardless of the licenses that already exist for the game in Spain, if a more attractive regulatory framework for international licenses was established, we could attract new companies.” For now, the cards are on the table. Time will tell whether it is Gibraltar who follows the winning hand in the game poker on the net.

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