Way back in June of 2016, the world was shocked to hear that 51.9% of the UK’s population voted to withdraw from the European Union. Since that time, the United Kingdom has failed to strike a deal with the EU, and many are now wondering what socioeconomic impact a no-deal Brexit will have on the country. There are a host of problems associated with the impending departure from the EU. Here, we’ll be discussing how Brexit will affect the UK online gambling market.
It might seem like an insignificant issue, yet the UK has one of the largest online gambling scenes in the world. Millions of people here place wagers through popular bookmakers such as Betway Sportsbook, and many of these players fear Brexit might put a halt to their betting.
Last week, MPs rejected Theresa May’s proposed Brexit plan by a historic 432 to 202 margin, the largest-ever defeat for a British government. On January 29th, Parliament will vote once again, this time for an amended version of May’s plan. As of now, the United Kingdom is still scheduled to leave the EU on March 29th.
That can (and is looking more likely to be) extended if no deal is accepted by Parliament. If not, then a “hard” Brexit will be the only option. Theresa May’s new plan doesn’t appear to be significantly different than her initial one, and it’s becoming more likely that the country says an unceremonious goodbye to the European Union.
If indeed that happens, there will be some enormous consequences to the UK economy. So what does that mean for the online gamblers here?
Brexit will have an immediate impact on the country’s economy, including the online gambling industry. We could discuss the potential for the UK to enter into a recession due to Brexit, which would inevitably affect the gambling scene here. In reality, the biggest issue lies in the fact that many of the UK’s top online gambling operators are based overseas.
Gibraltar, for instance, is home to more than 30 major online gaming companies. This small British territory voted to remain an EU member after the referendum, yet the majority of employees here commute daily from Spain. If free movement between Gibraltar and Spain is axed, these companies may be forced to close shop.
Fortunately, the UK has set its own heavily regulated online gambling laws. Even a “hard” Brexit is unlikely to affect these laws.
Many gamblers won big betting that the UK would vote to leave the EU back in 2016, and with the withdrawal now scheduled to take place in March, many sites including Betway Sportsbook are offering odds on the potential outcomes. It’s uncharted territory at this point, and bookmakers are being a little more cautious setting the odds than they were before the initial referendum vote.
At this point, it seems wise to expect the unexpected. There are several different scenarios that can still take place that will make an impact on Brexit. There are amendments calling for a second referendum to take place. There’s one that calls on the UK public to chime in on how to best go about the withdrawal.
The “Plan B” vote on January 29th should shed some light on how much chaos the UK parliament is really in.
Brexit will affect UK online gambling, but it won’t destroy it. In fact, it might not even be noticeable to most gamblers. There’s simply too much money spent on gambling here for the industry to go belly-up.
For now, all we can do is sit back and hope the UK parliament manages to reach an agreement.
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