Bet365 free slots casino, one of UK’s and the world’s largest sports betting facility operators has announced last Monday that it will be moving forward in the international online gambling market under the authority of the Gibraltar government, following a structural reorganization of its entire remote betting operations.
In 2007, the Stoke-based British bookmaker had moved its online casino, bingo, and poker operations to Gibraltar by securing a remote operating licence from the Gibraltar Licencing Authority and by submitting its online casino business under the regulatory supervision of the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner. The announcement made this week stated that in view of the company’s re-organisation, it had taken steps to transfer its remaining UK-based sportsbetting business to Gibraltar as well.
Actually, as early as 2009, there were already speculations that the private betting company was contemplating on moving its bookmaking business to Gibraltar. Although Bet365 CEO Alan Coates had quashed the speculations back then by stating that his company had no immediate plans of relocating its sports betting business, he had warned that there were certain conditions that would make the company proceed with such a plan.
In fact, Mr. Coates elaborated on the statement by commenting that operating the business in UK is quite expensive, citing the burdens of having to pay racing duties, corporate taxes, value-added taxes (VAT), on top of the annual 15 percent tax on gross revenue. He opined that operating in UK does not pose any advantage.
Although the recent amendments to UK’s Gambling Act 2005 particularly the PoC Tax were purportedly introduced to create a level playing field for both UK-based and offshore-licenced remote betting operators, there are new policy developments that could likely affect Bet365’s sportsbook operation.
A new licencing condition requires all gambling operators to provide the UK Gambling Commission with information about the markets in which they offer their betting products and services. In addition, operators must submit a written explanation of why they consider it “not illegal” to operate in the jurisdiction from whence three (3) percent or more of their revenue originate.
In light of such policy, Ladbrokes for one had opted to withdraw its Canada-facing operations, since the Canadian Criminal Act prohibits betting on single matches. Although it was largely expected for Bet365 to follow suit with a similar announcement, the corporate bookmaker had instead announced re-organising the structure of its betting business, which entailed consolidating all online gambling operations under the Gibraltar licence.
In 2013, Brent Scrimshaw, the CEO of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) had reported to the Crown Corporation Committee of the New Brunswick legislature that international betting operators illegally plying their betting business in Canada had cost the ALC as much as CA$64 million in lost profits. The ALC CEO specifically named Bet365 as an example, disclosing that the UK-based bookmaker has an existing sponsorship deal with the Canadian Football League (CFL). After all, prior to his appointment as CEO of ALC, Mr. Scrimshaw served as the Chief Marketing Officer of the CFL.
Bet365 though did not issue any statement to counter Mr. Scrimshaw’s report. However, the matter would have been an issue that the UK bookmaker would have had to explain if it had applied for a UK sports betting licence under the new British gambling regime.
The sports betting company stated that part of the re-organisation process included relocating some of the Stoke-office staff to Gibraltar, while others will be staying behind to take care of the contracted support for the centralised Gibraltar operation.