A number of UK’s biggest online casino operators have shifted their bases to Gibraltar, apparently to reduce tax, but perhaps also to pounce on the advantages offered in the potentially lucrative US market. Online casino operators are resigned to a high level of taxation when and if US laws are changed to regulate online gambling, and shedding the high British tax could be a step toward US profitability.
Companies have voiced their grievances many a time to the UK Gambling Commission about the unequal treatment given to offshore casinos as compared to those operating from the UK. Although a review of conditions was scheduled by the commission, and White Listing of new online casinos in UK was suspended, the gaming companies found the response to be too little and too late.
Moving to Gibraltar will slash each firm’s UK tax, dropping the rate from 15 percent to 1.5 percent. It was the extreme competitive imbalance that forced two mammoth operators to take such a drastic decision and the change was made reluctantly, said representatives.
Gaming observer, Ryan Costigan, says the move may be an indication for the preparation to attack the immense US market. When a multitude of legislative and judicial measures bring about the licensing and regulation of online casinos by the US, the move will have been a strategic and highly beneficial one.
Other gaming operators are eying the spur of change happening across the industry in the UK and are perhaps preparing to jump ship as well.