Will it effect yours?
People who enjoy having a little flutter online are concerned about how Brexit is going to affect their gambling pleasure. The fact of the matter is that many online casinos are headquartered here in the UK; casinos such as Coral, Paddy Power and William Hill to mention just a few.
The UK is one of the biggest and most profitable online gambling marketplaces in the world. Back in 2015, the industry was worth more than £85-million, £3.6-milion of which was from UK gamblers alone.
However, the worry is that the market may not be as profitable post-Brexit.
Fear concerning online gaming site headquarted in off-shore locations
The biggest fear is concerning the online casinos that are in off-shore locations. Gibraltar has of course been in the news recently because inhabitants are strongly against Brexit. Approximately 25% of Gibraltar’s GDP comes from gambling. It employs around 3,400 workers in the online gambling industry. Most of these workers live in Spain and at the moment are able to travel to and from the British overseas territory as citizens of the EU.
If Spain decides to close the border, many online gambling industry employs will feel the effect. If you are wondering how this will impact, it could be significant as the 30 online gambling sites that work out of the territory, include some of the big boys, such Bet365, William Hill, and 32Red. These companies could be faced with the prospect of having to relocate their operations elsewhere.
Brexit will not be beneficial for the overall online gaming industry
The consensus of opinion is that Brexit will not be good for the online gaming industry. As well as making it harder for UK businesses to take on staff from outside its borders, it will almost certainly adversely affect our reputation. If the economy dips this will not only have a negative effect on employment, it will also make people warier spending their disposable income on things like gambling.
Of course, online gambling covers all sorts of games, including poker, slots, roulette, and bingo. Although a lot of people don’t think about playing on bingo sites in terms of gambling, it is, which is why so many gaming sites remind punters about the importance of gambling (in this case, playing bingo) responsibly.
Many of the online gaming sites we all know and love are based outside the UK in places like Gibraltar. Most people probably aren’t aware of this, and indeed, before the Brexit referendum result, why should they be. But the “out” result changes all that.
Potential taxation changes will cut profits
The likely change involves taxation. The UK tax rules and regulations are quite strict by global standards. Headquartering online gambling sites in off-shore locations, means that businesses can avoid the UKs stringent tax laws. Post-Brexit however, that will change and until the detail gets sorted out in the negotiations triggered by Article-50, the fear is that most companies will be forced to reconsider their options, or pay more to the taxman.
Many of the online bingo sites that people currently use are indeed based in Gibraltar. You can usually find where website you use is based by going to the bottom of the landing page, and reading through the small print. If it is one of the bingo sites whose head offices are abroad, you may be justified in worrying.
The weakness of the £
Another concern about the impact of Brexit (not just on online gambling businesses, but any business in general that trades globally) is the weakness of the pound. When punters bet in £s sterling, it means that online gambling site owners abroad, get less money in terms of their local currency. It means they make less profit – another big disadvantage.
It’s not yet all doom and disaster
It’s not yet all doom and disaster. The UK government in general have a track record of permitting industries that are affected by economic changes to have their say on the matter. The gambling industry is certainly a major contributor to the UK economy, so they are sure to have a voice
If all goes well with the Brexit negotiations, or not depending on your point of view, the UK will exit the EU by the end of March 2019. In other words, there is still plenty of time to go before any major changes are implemented, and who knows, they may yet be another referendum on the result of the negotiations.