Will Post-Brexit Bring Complications to Online Gambling Industry?

Following months of negotiations, on December 24, 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom finally agreed to a post-Brexit trade deal. Now the UK is no more part of the EU, this deal serves to outline their future relationship.

However, even though numerous sectors seem to be well-organized, online gambling companies are still dealing with the consequences of Brexit. To make the situation even more complex, many of those are yet to develop in the coming months, opening more new questions and issues.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, EGBA commented as follows:

“At this stage, we consider the most concerning outstanding issue with Brexit to be the question of cross-border data flows, given the vast amounts of data used in the online gambling sector and the many companies which have operations in both the EU and UK.”

What Happens with Data Flow?

One of the most burning issues is the flow of online data. Even though there’s an interim agreement in place to continue data transfers between the two jurisdictions, this will expire in less than 6 months’ time. At the time being, there’s no certainty about the next decisions or moves.

Haijer also pointed out:

“Without a long-term agreement which secures the smooth flow of data, online gambling companies who operate in both jurisdictions would need to decide, among other things, where best to locate their data hubs to ensure as little disruption as possible to their everyday operations.”

He also stressed out that, regardless of any future agreement on data transfers between the two jurisdictions, any UK-based company is encouraged to continue operating in the EU and sign up to EGBA’s code of conduct on data protection. This would demonstrate their full compliance with EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679, GDPR for short.

As a small reminder…

… the Association published an industry code of conduct on data protection in June 2020. The Code is intended to complement and reinforce the online gambling sector’s compliance with the GDPR provisions. It is one of the first ever self-regulatory initiatives for any industry’s compliance with the said Regulation.

Brexit and Online Gambling- Highlights

When the procedure was just getting started many online sportsbooks offered odds on whether the UK would remain with or leave the EU. Those who voted in favor of cutting ties and going solo won big.

The first of the many questions that appeared had to do with Gibraltar. Having in mind that this is one of the UK’s overseas territories, it was quite reasonable to wonder how will that impact its web-based casino industry. However, the officials ensured it won’t be affected.

On the other hand…

…some companies made decisions to withdraw before Brexit becomes effective. In May 2018, Bet365 had some thoughts about moving its operations to Malta. Also, MaxEnt left the UK market. The announcement was made in January 2020, stating that as of December 30, customers will no longer be able to create accounts on the site.

Source:

“Brexit: Data Flows Still A Concern For Online Gambling Companies”, egba.eu, January 28, 2021.

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