Continuing our series of quick catch ups with lawyers from around the firm, hearing their views on current issues and/or trending developments relating to their practice area (as well as the markets and jurisdictions they’re operating within), Louise Federico, a commercial lawyer working with the firm’s online gaming team, took some time to provide her thoughts on the status of the gaming sector and Gibraltar as a relocation destination.
With a strong focus on gaming regulatory matters, Louise regularly advises Gibraltar’s B2C and B2B remote gambling licence holders on regulatory, licencing, corporate and commercial matters. Louise has advised clients on cross-border structures and transactions as well as on finance and investment transactions.
What is the most noticeable change you have noticed in the gaming sector over the last few years?
An increase in mergers and acquisitions throughout the gaming sector on a global scale. Only a few years ago this activity was only regularly utilised as a growth mechanism by the large players within the industry. However, over the past few years we have seen mergers and acquisitions take place at all levels within both the B2C and B2B sectors. Notable transactions have recently been entered into and completed by Gibraltar licensees, many of whom are valued clients of our firm, including Flutter Entertainment’s acquisition of Tombola, Caesars Entertainment’s acquisition of William Hill and 888’s subsequent anticipated purchase of William Hills’s non-US assets.
Have there been any, or are there expected to be, any new pieces of legislation in your area of practice, and what benefits may this offer a jurisdiction such as Gibraltar?
In response to the trend of mergers and acquisitions involving Gibraltar licensees the Government of Gibraltar introduced an amendment, in May 2021, to the Gambling (Duties and Licensing Fees) Regulations 2018. The change imposes new fees on change of control applications made to the Gambling Regulator. These range from GBP10,000 to GBP30,000 depending on the complexity of the change. This change is viewed as a necessary charge to ensure the work undertaken by the Gambling Division to review and consent to these change of control applications, which in recent years have become more regular than new entrants to the market, is compensated.
HM Government of Gibraltar, via the Gambling Division, has been working on a general review of the current gambling licensing and regulatory framework. There is a need for a new Gambling Act to be introduced to cater to the development within the gambling industry. The first consultation paper has already been circulated with interested parties having been invited to provide their responses. We expect the new Act to be adopted during the course of this year.
In your opinion, what are the main benefits Gibraltar has to offer to individuals or businesses seeking to relocate to the jurisdiction?
Gibraltar is a tier 1 regulated jurisdiction which has over time attracted and maintained a hub of talented individuals with knowledge in the sector. Recruitment of highly skilled staff is therefore possible. Further, the collaborative nature of Gibraltar and the ability to work in close cooperation with the Gambling Division permits bespoke development in the area which can adapt to the needs of the industry and its licensees.