Ron Mendelson is the Director of Costa-Rica based business and financial consultancy firm, Fast Offshore.More articles by Ron Mendelson
iGaming in a post-Brexit environment
2 May 2019
By Ron Mendelson
iGaming operators in the U.K., Gibraltar and the Isle of Man have had a turbulent few months as Brexit looms on the horizon and uncertainty abounds. How, when and if at all the U.K. will withdraw from the European Union remains to be seen, but this climate of uncertainty has caused chaos within its lucrative and well-respected online gambling industry.
Considered one of the most respected gaming licenses in the world, the U.K. Gambling Commission provides accreditation for some of the biggest names in the industry.
The iGaming industry in the U.K. surpasses GBP 14 billion, and over the last few years it has become one of the largest revenue generators. It is also responsible for a large chunk of tax revenue that is then pumped back into the economy and public services.
But with no one being sure what will happen in the next few months, the future of its licensees hangs in the balance.
According to a number of industry insiders, gambling operators and service providers and their operations could be thrown into jeopardy, as the withdrawal of the U.K. could result in bureaucratic chaos. Consider operating licenses, regulations, taxation, EU gambling laws — all of these could be rendered obsolete or not fit for purpose, depending on what kind of Brexit takes place.
Other iGaming operators remain optimistic in hoping that the size of the U.K. industry is big enough to survive the potentially massive blow that EU withdrawal could have. Whichever way it goes, the consequences are expected to be severe — particularly in the case of Northern Ireland, which could suffer a lot more, depending on the outcome of its border issues.
But already, cracks have appeared. Stricter regulations and general uncertainty have already resulted in a number of operators leaving the U.K., Gibraltar, Ireland, and the Isle of Man to seek assurances in foreign jurisdictions. Whilst some have stayed in Gibraltar and the Isle of Man, there is a chance that they will have to make a decision whether to move completely into the U.K. or stop offering services in the country, should gambling laws become tougher.
Malta has been a popular choice for many as its relaxed regulatory regime, English-speaking workforce and EU membership has made it a perfect alternative for those seeking some assurance. The iGaming sector has flourished there over the last decades and now employs as many as 10,000 people, comprising both Maltese and individuals from all over the world.
Others have opted to leave the EU altogether, and have upped sticks for places such as Antigua and Barbuda and Curacao. With low-cost and easy-to-obtain licensing options, Curacao is a great option for startups, while Antigua and Barbuda has been a key player in the game since 1994.
At Fast Offshore, we have over two decades of experience in the iGaming sector. Whilst we cannot predict what will happen in the U.K. in a post-Brexit gaming landscape, we can offer you advice and assistance with moving your operations elsewhere. We can also provide guidance and a range of services to those looking to enter the industry, regardless of which jurisdiction they are looking to operate in. To benefit from our wealth of experience, get in touch with a member of our team today.