What are the Implications of a Brexit for the Online Gaming Industry?
When Britons voted on Thursday, 23 June 2016 to break from the European Union, financial markets went into a frenzy. But it wasn’t only the world’s major bourses, currency markets and commodity markets that went into a tailspin, as concerns mounted over the future of UK/EU-licensed and regulated online gaming companies. For example, the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) quickly became the focal point of the iGaming industry as industry players became concerned about licensing and regulation matters.
However, as it turns out, the Brexit vote is effectively an advisory decision and not a legally binding one. UK politicians, and the new Prime Minister of Britain Theresa May, have vowed to uphold the wishes of the public and will move to take Britain out of the EU in time to come. As it stands, Prime Minister May has no timeline in mind to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to begin the divorce proceedings. This is a necessary initiative which will begin the arduous process of untangling Britain’s complex economic, political and social relationships with EU-countries and the 27-member bloc.
With regards to the online gaming world, many companies are regulated by the Gibraltar authority – a British overseas territory. Among them are companies like PartyPoker, 888 Holdings plc, William Hill and others. Such is the significance of the Gibraltar authority in online gaming that over 30 major licensees claim that jurisdiction as their own. Now however, the threat of a Brexit is throwing the cat among the pigeons since many stakeholders are anticipating problems with the British territory and are considering jumping ship for the MGA – the Malta Gaming Authority in Europe.
Gibraltar garners approximately 25% of its gross domestic product (GDP) from its online gaming operations, and it certainly wants to secure this revenue, regardless of the Brexit outcome. The political uncertainty generated as a result of the Brexit vote has unknown implications, but the Gibraltar Gambling Authority is working overtime to assuage the concerns of licensed and regulated companies that it is business as usual. From the time that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked, it will take at least two years for the separation to become effective.
UK Online Bingo Room Moves Ahead with Brand New Platform
Back in the UK, leading online bingo room Sun Bingo is pressing ahead with plans for a relaunch. Now that much of the hype around the Brexit saga has diminished, it is largely business as usual in the UK for the online gaming sector. Sun Bingo will soon be relaunching with a brand new gaming platform courtesy of Playtech. As one of the world’s premier software developers for the online gaming industry, Playtech offers myriad benefits to bingo players such as a friendly user interface, customisable skins, a large progressive jackpot network and all the credibility of one of the top 3 software providers. This is big news for the British online bingo industry, and it is especially significant given that Gamesys and other companies were vying for the Sun Bingo deal.
The bingo division of this leading software giant, Virtue Fusion managed to snag the deal right from under Gamesys’ feet. This new five-year deal is big news for the bingo industry and it will become effective within the next two weeks. First though, players will have to be migrated from the existing platform to the plated platform. Sun Bingo has been in operation for 11 years and has become the leading UK online bingo room with a huge player base. Back in 2008, Sun Bingo signed with Gamesys and dropped its previous provider Tombola. After the announcement was made, Playtech shares on the LSE spiked by 0.44% and climb to 802p on Monday 19 July.