International edition
September 19, 2019

Malta's hub would ensure post-Brexit access into the EU single market

Bet365 moves operations from Gibraltar to Malta due to Brexit uncertainties

Bet365 moves operations from Gibraltar to Malta due to Brexit uncertainties
"We also continue to operate in a highly uncertain environment, driven primarily by the continuing Brexit landscape,” the company said in a statement.
Gibraltar | 05/27/2019

The company confirmed that all its staff in Gibraltar (500 employees) would be given the option to relocate to Malta in their current roles if they wished. Bet365 stated it planned to keep some of its operations in Gibraltar. Malta's Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, welcomed the announcement.

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et365, a gaming company based in Gibraltar, has announced a relocation of operations to Malta. Employees have been offered redundancy or the option of moving to Malta, and a spokesperson for the company has said it continues to operate in a highly uncertain environment driven primarily by the Brexit landscape.

Reacting to the news, the Gibraltar government says it has worked “very constructively” with bet365 on the issues that have led to the decisions that company announced last Thursday and to mitigate the effects on Gibraltar, according to GBC.

The company, which employs about 500 people including around 20 Gibraltarians, made the announcement to staff Thursday with no details confirmed yet as to how many jobs the company expects to maintain in Gibraltar, and confirmed the decision to increase its operations in Malta, where it has operated for several years.

The announcement was widely anticipated and had been flagged in May 2018 by the company, which said at the time that it was expanding its Malta presence as part of contingency planning for Brexit. Although the announcement was interpreted by many locally as bet365 announcing its complete departure from Gibraltar, the company insisted it planned to keep some of its operations there.

“As part of our strategic and contingency plans to ensure EU market access and to maintain and enhance operational efficiencies, we have been building our presence in Malta and operating a dual regulatory and licensing strategy between Gibraltar and Malta for a number of years,” bet365 said in a statement.

“However, from an operational and technical perspective and given our operating model, it has become increasingly challenging to efficiently run such multisite operations and this has necessarily resulted in us conducting a review of our operations. We also continue to operate in a highly uncertain environment, driven primarily by the continuing Brexit landscape.

The company said that to assist with its planning and maintain operational effectiveness, it now intends to enhance its Maltese operational hub and relocate “certain functionality” there. “We are now consulting with staff in relation to such relocation,” bet365 said. “It is intended to maintain a presence in Gibraltar and the final rationalization will be determined after we have completed our staff consultation.”

bet365 said it would make no further comment at this stage while the consultation process with staff was ongoing, but added it was working closely with all stakeholders. However, the company confirmed that all its staff in Gibraltar would be given the option to relocate to Malta in their current roles if they wished.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="es"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We welcome <a href="https://twitter.com/bet365?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@bet365</a> announcement on the significant expansion of operations in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Malta?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Malta</a>, where its footprint will now be double that originally envisaged -JM <a href="https://twitter.com/SilvioSchembri?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SilvioSchembri</a></p>&mdash; Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) <a href="https://twitter.com/JosephMuscat_JM/status/1131559963829129216?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">23 de mayo de 2019</a></blockquote>
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Industry experts cited by the Gibraltar Chronicle said that expanding its Malta operation would ensure post-Brexit access into the EU single market for bet365’s Europe-facing business, a move that several other gaming companies have also pursued. Continued doubts as to the shape that Brexit might ultimately take mean gaming companies are hedging their bets by setting up parallel operations in EU jurisdictions, they said.

But in that context, Gibraltar has secured guaranteed continued access into the UK market after Brexit. In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, companies based in the EU would not be guaranteed access to the UK.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="es"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">bet365 going to Malta is bad news for Gib. Must be linked to continuing Brexit uncertainty. Not helped by Govt failing to negotiate any long term/enduring EU benefits because of their one-track cheerleading approach to Mrs May. We can do better to keep these businesses <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GSD19?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GSD19</a></p>&mdash; Keith Azopardi (@keith_azopardi) <a href="https://twitter.com/keith_azopardi/status/1131604176532901888?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">23 de mayo de 2019</a></blockquote>
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The Government of Gibraltar said in a statement that “it is clear that the decisions announced by bet365 are directly related to Brexit and not to any matter otherwise related to Gibraltar.”

“Gibraltar remains the best jurisdiction in the world from which to do well regulated, reputable online gaming business – and is the only jurisdiction guaranteed access to the United Kingdom market in online gaming going forward,” it added.

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