As a British overseas territory, Gibraltar has a unique status. While under UK’s jurisdiction, it’s actually much closer to Spain than it is to the UK.
The foundation of Gibraltar’s economy is the service industry, and gambling is its core sector. In recent years, players and some business owners have been concerned about the consequences of Brexit.
Luckily, there’s no need to worry. Spain and the UK recently came up with a solution.
Gibraltar will likely become part of the Schengen area
Gibraltar is home to thousands of experts in the gambling industry, and the concentration of gambling businesses there is higher than almost anywhere in the world. Sure, it has lost part of the popularity during the pandemic, and online online casino platforms for UK players have replaced it. But this only happened because of the lockdown and safety restrictions. Otherwise, Gibraltar is still among gamblers’ favourite destinations.
Gibraltar has always been frequented both by British and EU gambling-loving visitors. So, regulatory changes are essential for the overseas territory. And they’re going to happen. According to both British and Spanish officials, the UK and EU are in talks about making Gibraltar part of the passport-free Schengen area. Despite some difficulties with deciding who and to what extent is responsible for policing the frontier, it’s safe to assume that this will happen. EU residents will be able to visit Gibraltar just as easy as Brits.
The GBGA will review the Gambling Act
Gibraltar has its own executive body that deals with gambling, the Gibraltar Betting and Gambling Association (GBGA). The GBGA is partnered with the European Betting and Gambling Association (EGBA) and cooperates with the UK Gambling Commission. Brexit and resulting complications is the number one issue on the GBGA’s agenda, and it will soon be addressed. A new, updated Gambling Act is expected this year.
What helps is Gibraltar’s modest size, strategic location, and status as an overseas territory. According to Andrew Lyman, Executive Director of the Government of Gibraltar’s Gambling Division, “Of critical importance has been the direct access negotiated and granted to Gibraltar in respect of the UK market.” Most likely, the new Gambling Act will address and regulate Gibraltar’s unique privileges.
Gambling business owners will adapt to the new normal
A lot of titans of the gambling industry have businesses in Gibraltar, and they have four years to prepare for the consequences of Brexit. Many companies have already set up subsidiaries and EU offices to get ready for Brexit-related complications. It is still much easier for them than moving their businesses entirely.
Sure, new offices and subsidiaries required major investments, but they were necessary. Despite the pandemic-caused growth of online provides, land-based casinos aren’t going anywhere any time soon. They may have to evolve but will still have enough clientele to thrive. Gibraltar is not an exception. What helps is that gambling is a very innovation-driven industry. Its members are exceptional at innovation and change management and remain effective under stress.
Gibraltar’s gambling industry will be just fine
Overall, the UK-Spain agreement will allow Gibraltar to remain a top gambling destination for both British and EU tourists.
At the moment, Gibraltar’s inclusion in the Schengen area is a temporary deal. But there’s really no reason to believe that it won’t become permanent after the term of the initial agreement expires (unless something extraordinary happens or additional complications arise).
The GBGA will cooperate with both the Gambling Commission and EGBA, and the new Gambling Act will finalize legislative changes for the industry.
Nothing is going to change for regular players who have Gibraltar as their gambling destination of choice.