Bet365 to Move from Gibraltar to Malta, pending Brexit

Brexit sends Bet365 online casino poker and sports operator to Malta.

Bet365 Online Casino Poker and Sports Operator Leaving GibraltarThere are some drastic events taking place in Europe these days. Leading the list is Brexit—the abbreviated term for Great Britain‘s impending exit from the European Union (EU). The after effects will be widespread, and some of them are already taking shape, especially in the iGaming realm.

One of Europe’s largest internet gambling operators, Bet365, is all geared up for a big move. The company, which has spent the last four years calling Gibraltar its second home, is packing up most of its island operations. The majority of its staff will be moving to a new office in Malta.

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Although not necessary to continue their iGaming operation, the move from Gibraltar to Malta is seen as a precautionary measure. Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. While it is a sovereign nation with its own government, its tether to Great Britain is of utmost import. Once the United Kingdom severs all ties with the EU, it could be a game changer for Gibraltar’s online gambling operators. Suddenly, those holding a Gibraltar gaming license won’t be able to use it to access players in shared EU markets.

The Republic of Malta, on the other hand, is its own country, and very much a member of the EU. Located south of the boot-tip of Italy, it’s also a haven for offshore businesses—especially the online gambling variety. It’s so popular, in fact, that Malta—with a population of about 450,000 packed into just 316 square kilometers—is considered one of the world’s smallest, and most densely populated countries.

According to last month’s report in Times of Malta, Bet365 is well on its way to moving the majority of its Gibraltar operation to Malta. The company has already signed a €70 million purchase agreement for a commercial property in Sleima. The plan is to move 1,000 of their Gibraltar employees to the new office, once Brexit comes to fruition.

Bet365 Not Jumping Ship Altogether

The online gambling company’s base operations are, and have long been, located in Stoke-on-Trent, England. Whether the intended move to Malta takes shape or not, there are no plans to move the Bet365 headquarters out of the UK. The idea is to simply implant their operations into two major jurisdictions which offer access to the UK iGaming market, and the EU iGaming market.

Simply put, the usefulness of a Gibraltar gaming license may have dried up for Bet365 and other online gambling entities. If the island’s license can’t grant an operator access to EU markets, it is, for lack of a better term, worthless.

However, that doesn’t mean that having a branch office in Gibraltar carries no benefits for the brand. In fact, according to Albert Isola, Gibraltar’s Minister for Financial Services and Gaming, the company has no plans to close the existing office.

“Bet365 have confirmed directly to us that they remain totally committed to Gibraltar and the entirety of its workforce here. They are not leaving Gibraltar by any stretch of the imagination,” he told Times of Malta.

“We, nonetheless, understand that business needs certainty and has to manage risk,” Isola continued. “There is no single risk management solution here as the issues are complex.”

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