Now Gibraltar may not be many people’s idea of the perfect holiday destination and just seen as little more than a rock, whose main attraction is over-zealous monkeys. However, for us matched bettors this is a rather important rock. For it is home to nearly all the major bookmakers who operate in the UK.
Gibraltar’s tax laws, amongst other things, have proved too attractive for bookmakers to pass up and as a result, it could be argued, that Gibraltar is now the home of online gambling! This home, unfortunately, is now under threat and this small rock appears to have become a bargaining chip in the political nightmare that is Brexit!
Last year, Heads&Heads wrote a blog piece on Brexit and what our expectations were for the gambling industry. Whilst we thought it unlikely that Gibraltar and bookmakers would come out of this unscathed, we may have underestimated the time it would take for Spain to clash with the UK.
As you may have seen in the news recently, the Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May, vowed on Sunday that she will not allow Gibraltar fall from British control. The message to Spain was relatively strong, and whilst comparisons to Thatcher’s speech regarding the Falkland’s may be a touch over the top, her comments certainly felt definitive.
“We will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes," according to a transcript of the phone call released by Downing Street.”
For those wondering what it was that Gibraltar ‘democratically expressed’ – in 2002 almost 99% of Gibraltarians chose to stay British, rejecting a referendum on shared sovereignty with Spain.
We believe, that whilst it may be a slightly unsettled time for Gibraltar, ultimately, they’ll be left alone and the bookmakers will continue to do their thing. Heads&Heads truly believes that Spain underestimates the power that this collective block of bookmakers actually wield. It is certainly something that we here at Heads&Heads do not underestimate. If this proves to be the case, then it will be a good outcome for us matched bettors. Were the bookmakers forced to up sticks and move, the inevitable costs of this would almost certainly be felt in the form of reduced Reload offers. Something which we, of course, do not wish to happen.
As much as it pains us to say this, for now, we must trust the words of Boris Johnson when he states: “Gibraltar is not for sale. Gibraltar cannot be traded. Gibraltar will not be bargained away.”
Never before have we hoped a politician is telling the whole truth.