888 Seeks Malta Licensing

Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings has applied for a gaming license in Malta over concerns on how Brexit will affect its home base. 888 said it is “proceeding with its backup plan” by obtaining a Malta license and also establishing a server farm in Ireland so that it can “continue to serve European markets with no disruption to its business.”

Concerns over how Britain’s exit from the European Union will affect its business in Gibraltar have led 888 Holding to apply for a gaming license in Malta.

Gibraltar is a leader in attracting online gaming and sports betting firms, but as a British overseas territory, the UK’s exit from the EU has raised concerns over the future of the industry there. For example, most employees in Gibraltar actually live in Spain and the Brexit could impact their ability to move freely between the two states.

888 said in in its 2017 financial statement that it is “proceeding with its backup plan” of obtaining a gaming license in Malta and is also establishing a server farm in Ireland so that it can “continue to serve European markets with no disruption to its business”.

“The ability to rely on EU principles underpins 888’s regulatory strategy regarding major EU markets,” the report said.

“The status of Gibraltar as a result of Brexit remains unclear. Recent indications by the EU have suggested that Spain would be granted a veto right with respect to the application to Gibraltar of transitional arrangements agreed with the UK, which increases the risk of a “hard Brexit” for Gibraltar,” the report said.

“If 888 were to remain registered, licensed and operating in Gibraltar in these circumstances, its ability to rely on EU freedom of services/establishment principles in supplying its services within the EU will be limited,” the report said. “Furthermore, it may become ineligible to continue to hold regulatory licenses in certain EU jurisdictions.”

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