Gibraltar Gambling Hub Status Will Prevail, Says Regulator

September 26, 2023
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The head of Gibraltar’s gambling regulator has dismissed claims that its reputation as a gambling hub is under threat, as the jurisdiction prepares to update its regulations.
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The head of Gibraltar’s gambling regulator has dismissed claims that its reputation as a gambling hub is under threat, as the jurisdiction prepares to update its regulations.

Gibraltar gambling commissioner Andrew Lyman is hopeful that a new Gibraltar Gambling Act will be passed “before this autumn”.

On May 31, 2022, Gibraltar’s government issued a command paper for consultation on the draft legislation. It accepted responses until the following August.

The new act seeks to repeal and replace the current Gambling Act 2005, covering both online and land-based gambling.

Speaking at the Regulating the Game London conference on Monday (September 25), Lyman said the new law empowers the gambling regulator to issue codes of practice.

When asked about the codes, Lyman said he understands that the new regulatory framework will mean “breaches of codes or guidance would effectively be regulatory breaches”.

However, before these codes and guidance are enforced they will be subject to “open consultations”, he said.

“If Gibraltar is seen as an offshore jurisdiction, it differs from its competing jurisdictions as it expects licensees to get local licences,” Lyman said, adding that the regulator does not want licensees to affect its jurisdictional reputation.

Lyman said the new, flexible powers granted to the regulator will be “balanced” by the introduction of a Gambling Appeals Tribunal, which is envisaged to be able to challenge the regulator’s decisions.

Under the new law, it is also envisaged that there will be “no brass plate licensing”. Both marketing companies and holding companies providing gambling-related services will “fall within licensing scopes”, Lyman said.

“We are going to widen the scope of the B2B supply chain. It is going to capture most activity in and from Gibraltar,” he said, adding that under the new law, “if your management controlling the gambling company is in the region, that brings it within the scope of the government”.

Lyman acknowledged several difficulties facing Gibraltar as a gambling hub over the past few years, such as the introduction of point of consumption (POC) regulations in 2014, Brexit and the lack of a border deal with the EU, as well as being added to the Financial Action Task Force greylist in June 2022.

On the FATF listing, Lyman repeated the line of the Gibraltar government, saying he is “optimistic” the jurisdiction will be removed from the greylist in January or February 2024, subject to FATF approval.

The number of gambling industry employees is also “back up now” to around 3,600 people, according to Lyman, who admitted there was "some business" that migrated to Malta after Brexit.

But there was “no loss of critical mass”, he said.

“Some might argue that our economy needs more diversity. Gambling is a very important part of the economy,” Lyman explained, adding that gambling still accounts for 28 percent of the British overseas territory’s GDP.

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