Bet365 Announces Surprise Move to Malta

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Bet365 – one of the world’s leading online gambling groups – has finalised plans to relocate its operations to Malta from Gibraltar as soon as the UK exits the European Union next year, The Sunday Times of Malta can reveal.

Gibraltar, which hosts some 1000 employees of the company, initially denied the rumors.

From the Times of Malta:

The Sunday Times of Malta can also reveal that the owners of Bet365 have already signed a promise of sale agreement to acquire a large part of a new property development sprouting out on the Tigné peninsula in Sliema to serve as the company’s hub of operations.

The promise of sale will come into effect as soon as Brexit materialises, and the British company is expected to pay some €70 million to buy the Sliema property.

Sources close to the gambling industry told The Sunday Times of Malta that the relocation of Bet365 to Malta would be a game changer for the island, as it is expected to create a major economic boost.

“It is not every day that 1,000 well-paid employees are relocated to Malta. Apart from the fact that we are talking about the largest sports betting company in the world, with some 23 million customers, 1,000 new individuals and their families looking for a place to stay for quite some time on a small island will mean significant business,” the sources said.

The parent company of Bet365 had acquired a remote gaming licence from the Malta Gaming Authority in 2015, at the time citing regulatory concerns in various jurisdictions.  Bet365 appeared to maneuver more quickly and make the final move following last year’s Brexit vote whereby England will exit the European Union (hence the name BREXIT, a combination of "Britain" and "Exit")

Malta has become very attractive  to online gambling companies due to its low taxation regime and its membership of the EU. 

Gibraltar eventually came to terms with the decision this weekend.

In a statement, the Gibraltar's Minister for Gambling Albert Isola said Gibraltar was confident there would be a positive outcome for Gibraltar companies as the Brexit negotiations progressed.

"We, nonetheless, understand that business needs certainty and has to manage risk. There is no single risk management solution here as the issues are complex."

Mr Isola said his government was working with operators and with other jurisdictions to establish the best overall regulatory framework for business.

"Bet365 have confirmed directly to us that they remain totally committed to Gibraltar and the entirety of it's workforce here. They are not leaving Gibraltar by any stretch of the imagination.

"Neither are they having to choose between us and Malta.

"What remains true is that Gibraltar remains the jurisdiction of choice for the most reputable gaming companies in the world. Brexit isn't going to change that," Mr Isola said.

Privately held, the company is said to have annual revenue around of €1.5 billion.

- Althea Reynolds, Gambling911.com

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