Britain and its European partners are dealing with the aftermath of the Brexit, and trying to figure out the implications. Alas, when the wheels were set in motion, not even the initiators of the referendum could stop and direct them. So, how has the historical “leave” vote impacted the casino industry in the UK, the sixth-largest market for game spending on the globe? Well, it has brought forth a wide array of problems, on top of amplifying those that were already present. It might not be such a tectonic shift (yet), but Brexit is a force to be reckoned with.
A ripple effect
Brexit created big splashes in the market, and casino industry is not immune to them. In fact, many experts claim that politics dealt a severe blow to the gambling sector. The shadow of uncertainty looms over both players and casinos, as the pound’s value crashes and the politicians evoke dystopian visions of the future. The winning margins are decreasing and many players are losing interest. Everyone is looking at the horizon, where new regulation and strict enforcement are expected to appear.
You would hope that online casinos are beyond the inhibiting influence of spatial borders and political machinations, but that seems not to be the case. If we take a look at gaming hubs such as Vegas Master, everything seems fine on the vivid surface. One can easily browse casino guides, reviews, top lists, history, FAQ, and enjoy other content. There is still a myriad of possibilities for those who want to immerse in modern gambling at their best.
The bets are off
Yet, when we dig deeper, the situation is more sullen. European players already had to cope with conflicting regulation and bureaucratic bedlam, and Brexit has only added fuel to the fire. The number of casinos with headquarters in the UK is starting to shrink and the influx of new players is dwindling. A license issued by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission is still worth something, but the problems come in the form of higher taxes and restricted access to EU markets.
The latter predicament is potentially a business-sinking factor, as many casinos are dependent on the huge EU customer base. If the regulating bodies of the EU were to completely deny the access to the common market, that would probably be the final nail in the coffin for many organizations. After all, casinos are easy targets for politicians who want to offer to the public a usual suspect for the ills of the modern society.
The bad news is that it might be only a matter of time until we witness the worst case scenario. Namely, EU law prescribes that any bookmaker, casino, or poker room which serves European customers must be located in the EU. It is painfully obvious that a bulk of casinos would not survive being cut off from the EU market, or would at least struggle to stay afloat. That is why casinos like Isle-of-Man-based PokerStars ponder on destinations such as Malta.
Now, as for the taxes, online casinos are under obligation to pay a 15% of consumption tax on all the revenues that are generated from clients in the UK. The appetite of UK gamblers may be big, but this is still a steep price to pay. The only consolation is that the tax is not expected to rise further in the foreseeable future, which is not enough to shake off troubled thoughts.
Pay to play
The players themselves could become quite dissatisfied with smaller jackpots, shabby access to tournaments, and the fact that they will seize to be the part of the international liquidity pool. Some EU jurisdictions are already impervious to the flow of players, since casinos do not want to pay double taxes, and you cannot blame them, right? In any regard, measures like limiting the access of foreign operators does not address the root of the problem, and cannot really turn the tide.
Ultimately, the calamity of the UK casino industry corresponds to the state of affairs in global gambling. We have enjoyed the Golden Age and now it is high time to face the dire realities of the world. Beginners have a hard time making headway, seasoned players employ advanced software, and winning online is harder than ever. Brexit has brought casinos to their knees in the UK, and it will take a great deal of ingenuity, vision, and commitment to overcome the challenges.
Brexit has had a detrimental effect on the gambling industry as a whole. Casinos are facing an uphill battle and players are frustrated about a lack of access to EU market, as well as deteriorating conditions in the UK. Increasing taxation, the prospect of losing customers, and the atmosphere of uncertainty will likely force many casinos out of the country. Moreover, there is a widespread fear that EU will begin a legal crusade against some UK companies. Using a reality check gives us a gloomy outlook of the future: Rather than improving, the situation could turn from bad to worse.