Will Bet365 Exit Gibraltar Following Brexit?
Malta press reports that major online gambling group could be about to switch jurisdictions
The Sunday Times of Malta reported over the weekend that major online gambling group Bet365 may relocate its operations to Malta, leaving Gibraltar when the Brexit issue has been finalised. Such a move would involve some 1,000 employees, the newspaper reports.
Quoting unnamed sources, the Sunday Times of Malta revealed that a sale agreement valued at Euro 70 million has been signed to allow Bet365 to acquire a “large part of a new property in the Tigne’, Sliema.”
The relocation of such a large group would have a significant economic impact for the industry and for Malta, observers interviewed by the newspaper said..
“It is not every day that 1,000 well-paid employees are relocated to Malta. Apart from the fact that we are talking about the largest sports betting company in the world – with some 23 million customers – a thousand individuals and their families looking for a place to stay for quite some time on a small island, will mean significant business,” said one of them.
The newspaper reports that the Malta property market is already reacting to the news of a possible Bet365 move, with rents rising. Some local observers have voiced concerns over possible congestion and overcrowding in the Tigné area.
The operating company for Bet365, Hillside (New Media Malta) plc registered three companies in Malta back in 2014, and acquired a remote gaming licence from the Malta Gaming Authority the following year, saying it was motivated by “regulatory developments in various operating territories”.
Hillside also registered a new property company in Malta last year, increasing its paid share capital to Euro 12.5 million to invest in the acquisition of the property in Sliema. Last month the company finalised its plans to transfer part of its business to Malta and registered another company, Hillside (Shared Services Malta) Ltd.
Bet365 is headquartered in Stoke-on-Trent, England and employs around 3,500 people globally.
Bet365 To Keep Main Ops Hub In Gibraltar (Update)
But will expand its presence in Malta
In response to a widely reported article in the Sunday Times of Malta, Bet365 has clarified its ‘Gibraltar after BREXIT’ position (see previous InfoPowa reports) saying the company will expand in Malta but retain its main operational hub in Gibraltar.
According to a report from the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation, an unidentified bet365 spokesperson clarified that the company’s investment in Malta was “due to regulatory developments in various jurisdictions and the evolving global regulatory environment for online betting and gaming”.
Gibraltar’s Minister for Gambling, Albert Isola, also responded in a press statement, saying:
“Bet365 have confirmed directly to us that they remain totally committed to Gibraltar and the entirety of it’s workforce here. They are not leaving Gibraltar by any stretch of the imagination.
“Neither are they having to choose between us and Malta. What remains true is that Gibraltar remains the jurisdiction of choice for the most reputable gaming companies in the world. Brexit isn’t going to change that.”