888 mulling over Malta move intensifies
The UK gaming giant, 888 Holdings PLC, has announced it will apply for the betting license in Malta and therefore secure their business should the Brexit affects them negatively.
Ladbrokes Coral, NetEnt, BetVictor, 32Red, Bet365, Yggdrasil, Bwin and Lottoland are among 30 leading iGaming and sports betting companies regulated and licensed in Gibraltar but they don’t share the same fear like 888.
Their managements believe their global footprints give them significant flexibility to face any challenges that may arise from Brexit. 888 is not prepared to take that risk and took all necessary steps to protect itself.
The United Kingdom announced them leaving the European Union (EU) in March 2017 and their departure is expected to be finalized in March 2019 when the negotiation period ends. Being a British territory, Gibraltar’s future is unknown after the Brexit. People who live on Gibraltar are currently given the free movement throughout Europe but since political changes are unpredictable, it remains unknown whether or not this will carry on moving forward.
The Gibraltar Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo and the UK government speak positively about Gibraltar’s future as a gaming hub, but 888 made a strategy just in case. Their back up plan includes moving their headquarters to Malta, where cross-border op people, goods, services and capital is guaranteed.
Brexit could affect economic or market conditions not only in the UK but globally and 888 don’t want to take that risk.
“The proposed status of Gibraltar in relation to the United Kingdom as a result of ‘Brexit’ is at present unclear. If 888 were to remain registered, licensed and operating in Gibraltar in these circumstances, its ability to rely on EU freedom of services/establishment principles in supplying its services within the EU will be limited.”, 888 spokesperson claims.
888 want to obtain a gaming license in Malta and establish a server in Ireland in order to continue to serve European markets.
In the meantime, Maltese MPs are working on a piece of legislation that will combine all existing gambling rules into one law and attract more gambling companies to Malta. Should this be conducted, operators will be regulated via a business-to-consumer license and business-to-business license instead of several tiers of licenses.