The gambling industry is very popular in the UK, with thousands of tourists visiting the country every year for the sole purpose of visiting the casinos. As a result, this industry’s gross yield has increased almost twice as it was in 2010, reaching 16 billion British pounds in 2024. Since the UK has now officially left the European Union, and the UK is now in a transition phase and negotiating the exit terms, this instance will have its effects on the gambling industry too like other industries. Leaving the European Union means that in the UK, the EU rules and regulations are not applicable now. That means, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission is now making the rules and policies, and they need to provide them with new licenses, following the country’s laws and regulations.
Regulations on tourists from other EU countries
All the EU countries have huge popularity for casinos and gambling, and the UK Casinos are considered as the biggest centers of gambling in the world. There will be some regulations on the citizens of EU countries, which will affect the number of visitors in UK casinos and similar venues.
In Europe (as a continent), many people from EU countries often travel to non-EU areas, for the same purpose, and that’s a “secret” all people know, but don’t talk about. That happens because of the local laws and regulations, and all the authorities from Europe (again, as a continent), have full hands of work to prevent money laundering. The process of Britain’s exiting from the European Union will potentially, but not necessarily bring some risks and all the countries affected by it should again revise their current laws and policies when it comes to gambling, so they can update them
Possibility of Problems for international casinos in the UK
After Brexit, many casinos or online gaming sites which don’t belong to the UK’s companies would need to obtain new gambling licenses to operate. It may also cause trouble for the players who are looking for either new or existing casinos to play at. Gibraltar, a UK’s overseas territory, is famous for its casinos and is a big attraction for international casino companies. The territory has 60 online casino companies. In the case of new licenses or changed laws, many international casino companies would need to relocate to the new allotted areas of jurisdictions, particularly in the case of Gibraltar.
Currently, there are many casinos being operated in the UK and Gibraltar. Almost 25% of the economy of Gibraltar is based on revenues from the online gambling industry alone. These casino businesses are there because of the low taxes, which help them to operate in Gibraltar while maintaining businesses in other parts of the EU too. There will be changes in the taxation laws, and difficulties in border crossings directly affecting the business activities. It may also happen that some of the companies would need to leave the UK to look for countries with better business conditions. However, most of these possible circumstances are dependent upon the negotiations happening between the UK and the EU.
Problems for casinos owned by UK companies
It is high speculation that businesses in the UK will fall under the regulations of WTO, including gambling businesses. It could be a problem for the casino companies of the UK as the gambling industry doesn’t fall under any marketing commitment for services by the European Union, and there is a lack of deals related to gambling business between the EU and WTO.
However, some of the UK’s gambling companies, particularly the online gaming ones, have their head offices in other parts of Europe. Therefore, they will be still able to enjoy the relaxations and privileges provided by the EU to them. It may also happen that some companies move out of the UK to operate in the EU’s countries.
Also, many employees working in the UK’s casinos are from other EU countries. For example, Gibraltar’s casinos have 60% of employees belonging to Spain. Brexit will have a strong effect on the working conditions of these employees too. They would need working visas to work in these casinos. Players will face the same issues too.
How British EU exit affects Gibraltar?
Since Gibraltar is under British jurisdiction, EU-countries have a full right to close their borders, decreasing the number of people who travel there just for gambling and visiting casinos. Spain is one of the examples, since they are sharing sovereignty over it, and most of the people in Gibraltar say they want to stay in the UK. Gambling is not the only field that is affected by this decision, knowing that a lot of people are crossing the border due to work. Hopefully, there will be a proper solution for these people. Also, according to some researches, the casinos there will need to adapt to the new rules and regulations if they want to keep the UK customers.
Effects on Players
The EU regulations are very strict, but the UK laws are strong enough too, so probably there won’t be any problem when implementing the new rules. The best thing is that the customers won’t feel any change in the initial phase, but also, the future changes won’t be that big. Anyway, the foreign visitors should be informed of what is new, so the British authorities will provide every information needed, no matter if the visitors come from EU or non-EU countries.
Since the casino industry will be affected by Brexit in many ways, players will have some effects too. Firstly, UK authorities have expressed their will to control gambling addiction in the country, so they will make stricter laws for casinos once the transition period is over. If the current situation of low taxation on gambling in the UK is altered, it would mean that players would need to find other options in EU countries. It would lead to a high influx of players in the EU’s companies. There is a possibility that EU countries would introduce new regulations too on the upcoming players of the UK. It will also affect the payouts, as the operators would need to spend more on operations. The whole gaming experience can be affected as a result.
Will Brexit affect online gambling?
It can be concluded that most of the effects of Brexit on the UK’s gambling industry are negative. However, these potential effects are speculative and will depend on the negotiations done between the UK and the EU.