Government shrugs off Gibraltar fears for gambling sector

 
Francesca Washtell
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More than 30 of the UK's large gambling companies have outsourced their online gaming operations to Gibraltar (Source: Getty)

The government's representative in Gibraltar has shrugged off fears that the remote gambling industry will be under threat after last week's Brexit vote.

It said the industry has remained "strongly committed" to keeping its online gaming operations in the British Overseas Territory, after speaking with every gambling operator that has a presence on the island, as well as the Gibraltar Gaming and Betting Association (GBGA).

Gambling companies that base their online operations on the island include William Hill, Ladbrokes and Bwin.party.

Read more: Ladbrokes say bookies face "tough questions" on why they got Brexit wrong

More than 30 groups moved their online base to Gibraltar before the UK's point-of-consumption tax was introduced two years ago.

Before the tax was introduced, companies were taxed depending on where they were based, though they are now taxed on where their customers are located. Gambling has become one of the pillar's of the tiny outpost's economy.

"HM Government of Gibraltar will continue to work with HM Government UK to ensure the best possible outcome from the ongoing discussions in the expectation that there will be little or no change to the current arrangements for those who live and work in or travel to Gibraltar, and all the indications are that it really will be 'business as usual," the government's Gibraltar representative said.

"In the past week, various operators have confirmed their intention to continue with their expansion plans in Gibraltar including increasing or leasing new office space in Gibraltar, relocating parts of their existing business from other jurisdictions to Gibraltar, and ensuring recruitment continues apace."

Read more: Brexit vote slashes bookmakers' share prices

Last week, the affiliated industry group Better Collective warned the Gibraltar issue has the ability to affect the betting industry more than the shock Brexit result and the plummeting British pound.

Better Collective attributed this to island operators struggling without an EU licence, although there have also been fears that Spain will spark a fresh sovereignty claim on the territory.

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