The Government of Gibraltar has congratulated Virgin Bet on its successful application for a new gambling license and launch in the UK sportsbook market. This announcement comes just a fortnight after Bet365’s Rock exit plan was revealed.
Virgin Bet is an SBTech sports betting platform launched by Gamesys thanks to a recent partnership between both firms. The Gamesys Group has an office of 50 people on the Rock.
Gamesys’ Gibraltar Marketing Director Simon Mizzi said: "We’re excited to launch Virgin Bet into the world’s most competitive sportsbook market, and we feel that Gibraltar is the perfect location for us to base our operations."
Virgin Bet investors and management chose to launch the business from Gibraltar following years of successful operations with other ventures and it being the only jurisdiction which has guaranteed market access to the UK in the event of the UK and Gibraltar leaving the EU. Existing offices, staff and technical infrastructure are already located in Gibraltar.
Minister for Commerce, the Hon. Albert Isola MP, said: "We maintain that Gibraltar is a leading jurisdiction from which to operate a remote gambling business. A large number of existing operators, despite Brexit challenges, continue to maintain faith in the jurisdiction and this is shown by the increase in start-up businesses aimed both at the UK and non-EU international jurisdictions."
According to the Olive Press, Bet365 employees in its Waterport Place office in Gibraltar have been given eight weeks to decide on a move to Malta. The firm has cited Brexit as the reason behind its €70 million expansion from Gibraltar into Malta
A Government statement two weeks ago read: "It is clear that the decisions announced by Bet365 are directly related to Brexit and not to any matter otherwise related to Gibraltar."
The statement, from the office of Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, was blasted by opposition party the GSD, which expressed ‘concern’ and ‘disappointment’ at a potential 500 jobs leaving the Rock, the Olive Press revealed.
Party spokesperson Orlando Yeats said: "Apart from the job losses this announcement will have a knock-on effect on the local economy."
Gamesys Group reported revenue of €324.9 million for the first quarter of last year, which it attributed to the success of its Virgin Games B2C brand.