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bet365 to scale down Gibraltar operation and relocate to Malta, citing Brexit

The Rock of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, is seen from the Spanish side of the border near La Linea de la Concepcion, southern Spain, November 23, 2018. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Gibraltar-based gaming company bet365 is scaling down its business in Gibraltar and relocating much of it to Malta, citing Brexit uncertainty as one of the key drivers in its decision.

The company made the announcement to staff today and confirmed the decision to increase its operations in Malta, where it has been present for several years.

“As part of our strategic and contingency plans to ensure EU market access and to maintain and enhance operational efficiencies, we have been building our presence in Malta and operating a dual regulatory and licensing strategy between Gibraltar and Malta for a number of years," bet365 said.

"However, from an operational and technical perspective and given our operating model, it has become increasingly challenging to efficiently run such multisite operations and this has necessarily resulted in us conducting a review of our operations."

"We also continue to operate in a highly uncertain environment, driven primarily by the continuing Brexit landscape."

The company said that to assist with its planning and maintain operational effectiveness, it now intends to enhance its Maltese operational hub and relocate certain functionality there.

"We are now consulting with staff in relation to such relocation," bet365 said.

"It is intended to maintain a presence in Gibraltar and the final rationalisation will be determined after we have completed our staff consultation.”

bet365 said it would make no further comment at this stage while the consultation process with staff was ongoing, but added it was working closely with all stakeholders.

The Chronicle understands many of the company's staff in Gibraltar will be offered the chance to relocate to Malta or accept redundancy.

The Government of Gibraltar said it was aware of the development and had worked "very constructively" with bet365 on the issues that had led to the decisions announced today and to mitigate the effects on Gibraltar.

"It is clear that the decisions announced by bet365 are directly related to Brexit and not to any matter otherwise related to Gibraltar," the government said in a statement.

"The government will continue to work with bet365 through its period of staff consultation and rationalisation in order to seek to ensure that the footprint of bet365 in Gibraltar remains substantial."

"Gibraltar remains the best jurisdiction in the world from which to do well regulated, reputable online gaming business – and is the only jurisdiction guaranteed access to the United Kingdom market in online gaming going forward."

MAIN PHOTO: REUTERS/Jon Nazca