How Will the Brexit Affect The Online Casino Industry?
These are uncharted waters we’re in. We really don’t know what is in store for us as an industry. But we can make extrapolations on what can happen – not necessarily what will happen – based on what we know about the online gaming industry, and how it has dodged bullets in the past.
As we are fully aware, the online gaming industry is an enterprise that attracts its customers with bargains such as sign up bonuses, free money, or other types of “get something for free” marketing ploys. Now as you should already know – there is nothing really for free in any type of business that attracts people with these types of offers. They need to be paid for in some way or another. So keep this in mind.
(check out the following video in which I explain some of this stuff)
Online casinos which are European facing are primarily licensed in both in Malta and in the UK. In fact, I can safely say that the majority of European facing casinos, and when I say European facing casinos, I am including the United Kingdom – they still are in Europe whether they like it or not, the majority of European facing casinos are headquartered in Malta. These casinos that hold both licenses – Maltese and from the UK do not need to have any headquarters in the UK. According to the UKGC – they state the following:
In other words, there must be a physical address – not a PO Box – within the UK that can be used to have documents sent to. There is nothing within these regulations that state that the licensee needs to be stationed in the EU. So that’s a breath of relief for everyone in Malta that holds one of these licenses. What the UKGC wants is for their licensees to perform proper due diligence on their casino operations which include player responsibility safeguards and to pay their dues and fees.
So punters in the UK should not have to worry about seeing some of their favorite casinos – which are licensed in the UK but located in Malta – having their UK licenses stripped because they are not physically present in the UK.
That is important.
Where it may get a little complicated is with casinos that are based in Gibraltar.
According to BBC news, The British territory of Gibraltar – which has around 30,000 people who vote – 95% of these folks voted to stay in the EU. At the moment, Spain is asking for joint control of Gibraltar. If the UK keeps its territory as a sovereign state of the UK – what will happen to the companies based there?
We are taking about Ladbrokes, BetVictor, Bwin, 32red, 888.com, William Hill, Bet365, Betfair, Gala and Coral Interactive and then some.
These casinos are not licensed in Malta, thus they are not licensed in the EU – technically. At least they won’t be when the official ties are cut.
So there is a conundrum. Will the EU recognize a Gibraltar gaming license in order to do business here in the EU – will it recognize it only if Spain flies its flag on the rock? Will these casinos need to open an office in Malta in order to be considered licensed in the EU – does anybody care?
Well the history of online gaming proves that these companies are resilient – they can dodge bullets, and are pretty good at making things happen in light of complicated and idiotic political moves of certain governments. And this is something they need to figure out – not you the gambler.
So, How Will The Brexit Affect the Gambler – The Punter?
What a gambler wants is consistency, normalcy – to be able to play his or her favorite games with the casinos they feel most comfortable.
Will the Brexit have a consequence for you if you are in the UK. I would say, probably not too much. Where you may see a difference is through a trickle-down effect.
The casinos are going to have to figure all of this out. There may be complexities like figuring out work permission for UK employees in Malta – or to move or open new offices in Malta – or someplace else in the EU that offers gambling licenses. Or pay for sub-licenses in Malta, or other hoops they need to jump through.
You the punter may notice that you might not be seeing incredible bonus offers since these companies may be on tighter budgets for a spell. But do you really care about this? I hope not. Like I have mentioned before – there is no free lunch, no free money, and that most bonuses or these sort of offers have strings attached.
So the bottom line is that the Brexit will be affecting the online gaming industry, but you as a punter should be a ok.
Expert Opinions from Industry Executives
Ed Ware – CEO 32Red Plc
I don’t foresee any changes to the level of promotion and bonuses offered to players because of Brexit. Whatever impact there is on the UK remote casino industry will more likely be internal, corporate issues that companies will need to deal with. If these issues materialise at all and what they actually are and when they will need to be dealt with is yet to be revealed.
Ben Clemes – Partner / MD iGaming Cloud – Gaming Innovation Group
Of course when anything of this magnitude happens which causes such political and financial unrest, there is an impact to all businesses, not just the online gaming side of things. I think that as far as online gaming is concerned, I do not think there will be any immediate effect, especially since the UKGC id do firmly established now.
The UKGC has their own rules, own certificates for RNG games, so from that aspect I think it will be business as usual.
It will be interesting to see how the situation with Gibraltar and Spain plays out as I know a lot of people live in Spain and work in Gibraltar and already put up with some difficult situation at the border. I really hope that things do not get worse there.
I think the regulating of the UK market would have had the biggest impact on bonuses and promotions but if anything promotions and offers improved after the UK was regulated and I do not think the Brexit will have any impact on the promotions or bonuses that online operators offer.