With the introduction of the new point-of-consumption regulatory and taxation regime on internet gambling companies wishing to access the UK market just a year away, the British government has reportedly been consulting extensively with interested parties on Gibraltar, home to many online gambling companies that have become key contributors to the Gibraltar economy and employment market.
The local publication Panorama published an article on the issue this week, suggesting that Britain should be giving as much help and assistance it can to the economy of a community of just 30,000 people who are facing increasing and unwelcome pressure to integrate with Spain.
The article notes that delicate discussions have been taking place between the UK and Gibraltar governments on the internet gambling legislative changes that the British are pursuing, and urges the Brits to “…be careful to balance lust for winnings in tax against the damage it could do to our economy at a time when we are being attacked on all fronts by Spain.”
Earlier this week Lord Gardiner of Kimble spoke in the House of Lords during the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill.
In response to a question he advised:
“The Her Majesty’s Government has been working closely with the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association to seek a remedy in the best interests of British consumers.
“Officials have met with the Chief Minister of Gibraltar and the GBGA, and there will be further meetings to discuss these matters. The Government has also hosted delegations from the Gibraltar Government and the GBGA in London.
“The Government very much looks forward to continuing a positive and productive relationship with Gibraltar.”
But, the article opines: “…[these are] words that leave us none the wiser.”
The article ends by applauding the recent announcement by William Hill plc that it intends to maintain its operations on The Rock and makes the point that if other online gambling companies based on Gibraltar made similar reassuring announcements, it would be “…a major boost to confidence in Gibraltar in these troubled times.”