Of course, one of the biggest events in 2020 that has already occurred in the UK is their departure from the EU. Known as Brexit, it has been spoken about for 5 years and the repercussions of it will be felt across numerous areas of the day-to-day life. One area that might be the affected is online gambling – much of which is based in the EU. Whether that be sports betting or classic casino games, there is a chance that UK players might receive a different gambling experience to that which they previously enjoyed due to the ramifications of Brexit. While it is still early doors and there is still around 10 months before Brexit is formalised, it is worth taking a look at what changes could soon be seen in the way gambling online happens in UK Post Brexit.
Why Would Brexit Effect Gambling?
The first thing to grasp about Brexit and Gambling is why it might affect it as, of course, people from all over the world gamble, EU or otherwise. However, what is important to know is that most online casinos and game providers are not UK companies. A lot of the big names in game providing, such as Netent or Yggdrasil, are Swedish companies, while the majority of casinos that operate in the EU do so from other EU member states, most notably, Malta.
When you look at prominent gambling countries outside of the EU as trade block, the quality of the gambling goes down quite dramatically. This can be seen by the lower numbers of game available and the limited choice of casinos that you will find in places outside of the EU. As such, without the good connections within the EU, it may not be as easy for players to get access to the wonderful world of casinos that EU nations help provide the UK.
How Could This Effect the UK?
The key reason why this access to great quality casinos and better games may be limited all comes down to taxes. Previously, other than paying for licensing fees, there was nothing preventing these EU member country casino businesses offering their services to the UK. However, the issue will now be that if taxes are being put on them providing services there may be two consequences.
The first one will be that due to these increased taxes, casinos decide that they no longer want to do business in the UK at all. This will mean that the choice for casinos will decrease dramatically with companies setting their focus on other areas as opposed to the UK where these taxes would not be in place. This is one scenario but due to the popularity of gambling in the UK and the fact that so many players already have accounts at casinos in the EU and put a lot of money into them, it would unlikely that they would all stop offering their services.
What could happen instead is that in order to combat the increased taxes, casinos may put extra charges in place for UK players. This might lead to them having to pay more for deposits or withdrawals, they may be more limited in terms of bonus deals and other promotional giveaways, or any other means by which players would end up paying more for using the service. It may also be that certain betting markets are closed off from UK users. As such, while the complete discontinuation of the service is unlikely to happen, some restrictions may be put in place.
The Role of UKGC
While what we have said so far is plausible and that there may some issues in place for UK players wishing to play at online casinos and play games from companies based in the EU, there is one important factor that makes the UK unique in its position. Namely, this is the existing of their own independent licensing body, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission – the UKGC. The existence of this organisation is pertinent as all casinos offering their service to the UK need to obtain this license and abide by their rules.
The rules of the UKGC are some of the strictest in the industry and ensure that the gameplay players enjoy at online casinos are well regulated. Due to the existence of this, the ways in which casinos operate will be unaffected in terms of security and safety as they will be still held to account by the UKGC as opposed to the prominent EU licensing body, the MGA in Malta. This means that while may be certain effects on the casino industry, ultimately, much of the way that casinos are conducted will remain unchanged as they will be all be operating underneath the rules of the UKGC. As such, there is a high chance that very little will change at all.
While this is what we currently think, we will not know for sure for some months yet as the particulars of the deal get arranged and confirmed. When this happens, we will know for sure what the future of gambling holds for UK players.