The effects of Brexit on Ireland's casino industry

March 10th, 2021 4:06 PM

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Due to the ongoing Brexit turmoil, many gambling companies are considering leaving the UK market. The departure of the UK from the European Union was bound to bring many changes to businesses in the country, including the gambling industry in the UK. This is why some gaming operators started taking some actions even before Brexit was a fact. 

It was inevitable for Irish casino operators to also be affected by the changes that came along with Brexit. One of the main changes that may occur is for casinos that have been registered in Gibraltar which is why many companies began working on relocating their businesses to countries that are still members of the EU.

Even though some gambling operators decided to leave the UK market even before Brexit, some decided to still offer their services to UK individuals as they recognized how fruitful the UK gambling industry could be.

Can Casino Operators Be Affected by Brexit?

Many casino operators that were catering to UK players were obtaining licenses from the jurisdiction of Gibraltar. The main reason for that was the lower tax rate compared to any other EU jurisdiction or the UK. For many years, Gibraltar has been a top location for the headquarters of numerous gambling operators who are naturally drawn in by the benefit of paying lower taxes.

Since Gibraltar has been a part of the UK for numerous years and it is still a part of Great Britain, it is only natural that Brexit brought some changes for the gambling industry in the British overseas territory. 

The Spanish Government could choose to restrict the free movement across the borders between countries. This could be devastating for the gambling industry in Gibraltar as reports show that over 50% of the workforce in the gambling industry of the Rock cross the border between Spain and Gibraltar every day. 

Before the UK reached an agreement with the EU and Northern Ireland, many casino operators and other industries were worried about more serious consequences for Ireland’s GDP. Since online gambling is a major market in the UK, many gambling operators from EU countries, including Ireland, have decided to register their companies in Britain.

To be able to offer gaming and betting services to UK residents, casino and sportsbook operators must register with the UK Gambling Commission. This is one thing that will not change for Irish casinos even after Brexit.

The only action that needs to be taken by operators who would like to continue to offer their products to UK players and bettors is to reapply for a license from the Gambling Commission. All casino sites with licenses in the UK and Ireland can still offer their gaming services in the respective jurisdictions.

While there were concerns about some companies leaving the UK due to the tighter restrictions that may be in effect after Brexit, many operators decided to reapply for licenses from the UK Gambling Commission. The main reason for that is the lucrative online gambling market in the UK, which has grown even more during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the UK officially left the EU at the end of 2020, it is way too early to say whether there will be major changes for the casino industry in Ireland in the long run. Currently, there have not been any significant adjustments that affected Irish gambling operators and only time will tell if there will be bigger alterations in the industry.

How Can Ireland Tilt the Scales in Its Favour if Brexit Leads to Negative Effects

Even if Brexit and the latest changes imposed by the UK Gambling Commission have any negative impact on the gambling industry of Ireland, there is still a way for the country to gain some advantage. 

As Ireland has a strong presence in the tech sector and has access to Britain, the country can make use of its role as a mediator between EU businesses and the gambling market in the UK. If Ireland manages to lure foreign web businesses into its territory, this can offset any unfavourable changes that resulted from Brexit. 

As of now, the Brexit impact on the online gambling industry in Ireland is minimal, with players still being able to enjoy their favourite casino games and sports betting online. Even if there are some negative effects, Ireland could make use of its position and act as a great negotiator between the gambling industry in the UK and various businesses in EU regions. 

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