Bet365 Denies Malta Relocation Reports, Confirms Expansion in the Gambling Hub

UK gambling giant bet365 denied plans to relocate its Gibraltar operations to Malta following Britain’s exit from the European Union after Maltese news outlet The Sunday Times of Malta published a report about the move.

Bet365 currently ranks among the world’s largest online betting and gaming operators. The company generated revenue of £2.28 billion and operating profit of £504 million during the 12 months ended March 26, 2017. It has more than 23 million gambling customers all over the world.

According to unnamed sources cited by the Sunday Times of Malta, bet365 is planning to relocate around 1,000 of its Gibraltar-based employees to Malta. The news outlet further revealed that the operator has previously inked a promise of sale agreement to purchase a part of a new property development on the Tigné Peninsula in Sliema where it is believed its new office will be based.

The agreement is set to become effective once Britain completes its exit from the European Union on March 29, 2019.

Bet365 already holds a remote betting license from the Malta Gaming Authority through its Hillside (New Media Malta) plc (registered in 2014) operating company. The company acquired that license in 2015, citing back then “regulatory developments” in a number of “operating territories”.

The Sunday Times of Malta noted that bet365 registered a second company in Malta following the June 2016 Brexit vote. It was understood that the operator registered a third company in April 2018, Hillside (Shared Services Malta) Ltd. as it had finalized its plans to relocate its Gibraltar operations and staff to the Mediterranean island nation that has established itself as one of the world’s largest online gaming hubs.

In a statement following the publication of the Sunday Times of Malta’s article, bet365 said that it would remain committed to post-Brexit Gibraltar and that while it was planning to open a new office in Malta and scale up its presence in the island nation, the reported relocation of 1,000 Gibraltar-based employees was mere “speculation” and that the numbers quoted were “wholly inaccurate”.

Concerns and More Denials

Gibraltar itself has been home to some of global online gambling’s major players, including bet365. With the fate of the British Overseas Territory after Brexit still being unclear, concerns have been growing that companies might relocate to other gambling hubs. Any such departures would impact Gibraltar’s economy significantly, as it is heavily dependent on its gambling industry.

Commenting on the report about bet365 leaving Gibraltar, the territory’s Minister for Gambling, Albert Isola, said in a statement from later on Sunday that they are convinced that ongoing Brexit negotiations would produce a positive outcome for the gambling companies based in Gibraltar.

Mr. Isola further pointed out that bet365 had previously confirmed its commitment to staying in Gibraltar and that the company is not leaving “by any stretch of the imagination”. The gambling minister believes that Gibraltar will still remain a preferred destination for major gambling companies despite Brexit.

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