Will Brexit's Impact on the UK Casino Industry Affect Europe

Wed 26 Jul

On 29 March 2017, British Prime Minister Theresa May, invoked an article of the Treaty on the European Union in the process formally beginning the much dreaded UK divorce from the European Union. This, as you can imagine, is a huge step and the repercussions of such will no doubt be huge. There are already many changes that have occurred in the iGaming world as a result of Brexit in the UK, though most of them at this time, is a result of damage limitations by companies as the true effects are yet to be fully realised. The impact of Brexit and the British gambling industry is mainly being felt in the legal and business categories,. On one side, the UK housed the highest number of European Gambling and Regulatory Commissions and on the other, it was the biggest gambling market in Europe and tearing up of trade agreements and stricter border controls will no doubt send waves of change in Europe.

The United Kingdom has six of Europe's biggest gambling and regulatory bodies including the UK Gambling Commission and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority which licenses some of the big names in the online gambling industry today such as William Hill, 32Red, and Bwin. Though the gambling regulations are not governed by these Commissions as a supreme overseer in the whole of Europe, they are rather on a state by state basis. The fact that it was becoming a more centralised system which countries could assist one other in times of difficulty, now becomes redundant as states would have to put national interests first before answering to anyone. A decentralised system will only take Europe back to what it wanted to move away from which is an unsafe and insecure operating environment.

The trickiest part when it comes to regulatory authorities pertains to the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority in Gibraltar. Gibraltar is a British territory located on the edge of the Spanish border. Though it is a British territory, it has its own legal jurisdiction and tax system separate from the UK's. Gibraltar has been forced to hold its own Brexit-esque referendum, the result has been a convincing remain, but the nation's leaders may be forced to override the wish of the masses as it looks to keep its dependent status with the UK in check. At the same time, withdrawal from the EU for Gibraltar will mean Spain closes its border with the state putting thousands of lives in jeopardy as there are over 3500 workers who commute between Gibraltar and Spain each working day.

On the business side, British companies and possibly Gibraltar, will be hit the hardest. With the free trade agreement no longer in place to ease certain costs and expenses, UK companies will have to deal with massive overhead costs. Free movement of workers in the European region will no doubt affect Europe. Britain on its own will be unable to attract talented foreign workers in its gambling industry which will obviously affect the industry's quality. With a shortage of skilled professionals in this field, Britain's industry will crumble. This will, however, come as a blessing to the rest of the European region as has been noted in other industries, as top talent prefer to work in a safe and stable environment and that is what EU promises to its workers while Brexit and its uncertainties will induce brain drain.

Brexit will leave its mark not only in the UK, but in Europe as a whole. Though there aren't major impacts as of now, though the ominous signs are already on the wall. How bad or relative the effects will be, will be determined by the negotiators and it is of extreme importance that Britain manages to remain in most of the trade agreements including the Digital Single Market.

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