oncerned by announcements already made by two massive online gambling operators currently based on the British ‘Rock’, Bet365 and 888, that they intend relocating some or most of their operations to Malta following the UK’s exit from the EU, Spain has now reassured its minute neighbour that things will not change drastically.
According to a political agreement between Spain and Gibraltar, as long as the UK reaches a deal with the EU on terms of an exit and a transition period, things will stay relatively the same between Spain and Gibraltar. The tentative agreement aims at defusing concerns over the status of some 14,000 employees who commute daily between Spain and Gibraltar to work in the gaming industry based on British soil.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez last week told an EU summit that his country will not hold Gibraltar as a negotiating chip as this was not in its interest.
Speaking in an event in London to lure investment to his territory, Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said that a disorderly Brexit would not have been in the interest of Spain, the UK, the EU or Gibraltar. Stating that “common sense has prevailed”, he said that terms on environmental, police and Customs matters have been also largely agreed with Spain.
Malta, which like Gibraltar is looked at as an attractive location for gambling industries due to its low taxes, is seen as the main beneficiary in this industry in case of a hard Brexit.
According to the Times of Malta, Gibraltar is fighting back trying to assure companies that they will still be able to operate in the same current conditions even when the UK exits the EU. However, concerns among the gambling industry remains and many companies are still seen as preparing a Plan B in case things will not manage to come their way.
Earlier this year, The Sunday Times of Malta had said that Bet365 – one of the largest gambling operators in the world – had decided to relocate large parts of its operations to Malta.
The company has purchased a large still-to-be constructed office block in Tigné, Sliema, where it plans to transfer and employ hundreds of employees.
The company had said that it still plans to keep a presence in Gibraltar.