Gibraltar-based online gambling operators may now heave a sigh of relief after the UK government assured the territory of continued access to the UK market until at least 2020.
The Gibraltar Chronicle reported that UK and Gibraltar agreed to craft a replacement framework that will serve as commercial and business guidance when the British government exits from the European Union (EU).
“Great care has rightly been taken by the UK and Gibraltar to ensure regulatory standards will be maintained between us in a manner that will be designed to assure customer protection and equivalence on regulatory outcomes going forward,” Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said, according to the news outlet.
Robin Walker, minister of state at the Department for Exiting the European Union, pointed out that the decision to continue the barrier-free access to the UK was prompted by the appeal of Gibraltar-based companies.
He said UK and Gibraltar agreed that the post-Brexit access will remain unchanged until 2020 in order to give them more time “to design a new, modernized agreement, based on similar high standards of regulation and enforcement.”
Gambling analysts believe the agreements will provide the much needed confidence to the Gibraltar market.
Gibraltar has become home to more than 30 online wagering firms due to the UK independent territory’s low corporate taxes and full membership in the European Union. Online gambling companies are the territory’s biggest employers with over 5,000 employees in the sector.
A number of UK-licensed operators, however, are rethinking their licensing arrangements with Gibraltar in preparation for Brexit’s consequences.
For analysts, the Brexit has opened doors of opportunities for both the UK and Spain as Gibraltar tries to quell doubts over its status in the EU.
Citing a policy paper of the Elcano Royal Institute, Bloomberg reported that Brexit paved the way for renegotiating the actual situation of Gibraltar.
Elcano analysts pointed out that the current circumstances “open the door to a new status for Gibraltar that is favorable to all involved parties and acceptable to the legitimate interests and aspirations of Spain.”