Spend any time in Gibraltar these days and the obvious becomes pretty apparent. The British overseas territory is arguably the true home of egaming, as online casino and sportsbook companies dominate life on the rock. While the egaming sector’s influence in the country isn’t likely to end anytime soon, there are some that feel that an industry is emerging that can rival it. Speaking to GBC – Gibraltar’s local news outlet – cryptocurrency pioneer and Bitcoin Foundation founder Jon Matonis feels that Blockchain could soon take over.
Gibraltar is known to be the home of many licensed casino sites, as they using the regulatory authority as their main or secondary licensor. However, time could be changing according to Matonis. He feels that over the next decade the egaming industry will be forced to take a back seat. At time of writing, the country’s financial services regulator is processing 35 applications for distributed ledger technology (DLT) licenses. This only serves to back up Matonis’ thoughts, as the Blockchain tech firms will take a grip of Gibraltar sooner rather than later.
Speaking about the current state of egaming in Gibraltar, Albery Isola – Gibraltar’s financial services and gaming minister – was keen to discuss the sector during his recent budget speech. He revealed that there are currently had 30 active egaming licensees in the country – with recent consolidation bringing that number down. As a means to push new business, the government has been doing all that it can to attract new DLT and Blockchain businesses to the rock.
Gibraltar is picking up a reputation for being home to forward-thinking companies, with industry leaders like Oxygen, Xapo, eToro, Gnosis, and Huobi already working towards calling Gibraltar home. However, for all the positivity, Brexit is looming, but Gibraltar feels that it’s flexible enough to handle the challenge this by adopting regulatory approach to new technologies. “Gibraltar should be prepared to be an incubator for selected technology firms and this requires a shift in mindset and more flexible legislation,” said Isola.
For many UK gambling companies, the taxation on the rock presents the “Gibraltar Dream”. Should egaming and Blockchain industries be able to co-habit effectively, it could have an extreme level of control over the country. It’s well known that Gibraltar has built its modern image off the back of the gaming sector, as it has brought huge funds to the nation. Whether an influx of Blockchain-focused companies will be able to do the same remains to be seen, but Gibraltar’s government will certainly hope so.