The impact of Brexit and the uncertainty surrounding the UK's plans to leave the European Union's single market union, is being felt by online gambling groups. This week, the new Chief Digital Officer of UK gambling giant, William Hill, Ulrik Bengtsson confirmed that the group will be opening a new satellite office in Malta. Only a small number of employees will work out of Malta.
According to Bengtsson, William Hill will maintain its Gibraltar office which will remain its key operational hub following Brexit since its "online customer base is overwhelmingly in the UK."
The Malta operation, said Bengtsson, would be a "small initial organization" and would support the company's international operations in view of the potential impact of Brexit.
"All current locations are unaffected by the new operations," noted Bengtsson, who served as head of the online gambling group, Betsson - located in Malta - for many years.
"Malta provides an option for international operations should they be required after Brexit so an exploratory project team is being recruited with regulatory, legal and compliance roles," noted William Hill in an industry update this week.
William Hill's Expansion
According to the Times of Malta, William Hill was founded in 1934 and has since grown to incredible international proportions. The company employs over 16,000 in nine different countries, with its retail markets in the UK and Australia. William Hill's online business has its headquarters in Gibraltar, while marketing and customer service is based in the Philippines, Israel and Bulgaria.
Over the years, William Hill has expanded to newly regulated markets, and has now launched licensed websites in Spain and Italy, as well as US operations in Nevada and Delaware.
It is believed that with the new sports betting laws in the United States, after the Supreme Court ruled that a federal law banning sports betting is unconstitutional, William Hill will make significant tracks in the US as individual states open up their markets.
According to William Hill's chief executive officer, Philip Bowcock, the appointment of Bengtsson indicated the company's intentions to move further into the Nordics, as well as Central and Eastern Europe.
Bet365.com Made Similar Announcement
William Hill is not the first company to announce an expansion of offices from Gibraltar to Malta. Last month, the online bookie, Bet365.com also said it was opening a new office in Malta.
In a statement issued last month, Bet365 confirmed its plans to expand its presence in Malta.
"Due to regulatory developments in various jurisdictions and the evolving global regulatory environment for online betting and gaming, we have decided to increase our existing presence in Malta, which provides a mature and robust regulatory environment for the industry," said the group in its statement.
Bet365 took additional property space and was looking to recruit additional personnel in Malta in order to support its online operations. It also said that it was expanding its infrastructural capabilities on the island.