UK Government Issues Brexit Gambling Checklist
The UK Government has issued gambling operators with a no-deal Brexit checklist. This eight-point list offers advice to those employed in the industry for the event that the UK does crash out of the European Union without a deal. The UK is currently set to leave on October 31st.
The checklist offers useful advice for those who are uncertain of the impact that a no-deal Brexit with have on their careers. Recent figures show that the UK’s gambling industry employs over 100,000 people. With so many jobs at risk, many gambling operators have already begun taking their own precautions. In September John O’Reilly, chief executive of the Rank Group unveiled the company’s “emergency Brexit menu”, intended to tackle food shortages.
British gambling industry employees working in Europe could also feel the effects of Brexit. There are a large number of British gambling companies that have their headquarters in Gibraltar. This location provides convenient access to European markets. However, employees who work in Gibraltar are already facing difficulty crossing the Spanish border on daily commutes to work. As a result, UK operators such as Bet365 have already moved substantial parts of their business to Malta.
It is evident that the UK’s gambling industry is already facing a variety of issues spawned by Brexit before the UK has even left the EU. So what measures do the government suggest taking, and will they be enough to secure a British industry with an estimated worth of over £14 billion?
Preparing for No Deal Brexit If You Work in Gambling
On the 2nd of October, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport published its eight-point checklist for British gambling organizations operating post-Brexit. The advice given is specific to a ‘no deal’ Brexit, whereby the government fails to make any deal with the EU before leaving. While the UK is currently set to leave on October 31st, an extension of January 31st 2020 could be granted if the Benn Act is honored. As the news seemingly changes day by when it comes to Brexit, those working in the gambling industry may simply have to wait and see.
Looking After Employees
UK gambling organizations should check if their employees require visas or work permits. This is the case for employees working in the UK and employees working outside of the UK. Staff should also be asked to find out whether or not they need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. If employees who do require settled status fail to apply, they may not be allowed to carry on living and working in the UK after Brexit.
Another thing that employers and staff need to do is check that they meet immigration rules and can pass through any borders that they might need to. This is particularly relevant for gambling operators working out of Gibraltar, as their staff will need to cross the Spanish border frequently.
Access to Personal Data
Employers should review the way they access personal data from the EU and EEA. This means going over contracts that contain personal data received from the EU/EEA and making sure that they can continue to receive this data legally post Brexit.
Employers should also review their methods for accounting and reporting. Changes might need to be made, and a failure to carry these out could result in breaches of EEA requirements.
Review Online Services
The government has outlined a few different steps that are necessary for businesses to take when it comes to the services they offer. Firstly, businesses should look at appointing a representative in the EU. This is particularly important for larger UK-based online businesses that offer their digital services in Europe. Failing to appoint a representative to meet online security standards could result in a fine.
Companies should also seek guidance if they have a .eu domain name and if they provide online services in the EU or EEA. They will need to make sure that they are adhering to rules surrounding online activities if Brexit goes through without a deal.
Businesses will also need to review their contracts and make the appropriate changes to provide licensed content outside of the UK. They may need to get extra copyright permissions.
Gambling organizations should look at what steps they need to take to import hardware that they might need from the EU to the UK. It is a good idea to do this in advance to avoid any of the delays associated with importing goods.
Too Little, Too Late?
The advice set out by the government in this eight-point checklist is clearly vitally important information for those working in the gambling sector. However, it will do little to alleviate the worries of those in the industry who have now been preparing their businesses for Brexit for years.
With just three weeks left until the current Brexit date, is this advice too little, too late? In the midst of this instability, no one can be certain that the UK will still leave the EU on Halloween. Time will tell, but for now, gambling operators and their staff will just have to sit tight and prepare the best they can. Undoubtedly, the gambling industry is just one of the UK sectors that will face difficult times come Brexit.