Does anyone remember Brexit?
It was the media’s go-to headline until the pandemic took over. Forgotten, yes. But definitely not gone.
Technically it’s already happened. On 31 January this year the UK left the building. A withdrawal agreement was signed sealing an exit from the European Union on this date.
But built into the exit agreement was a transition period during which the pre-Brexit status quo remained. The UK would still be subject to EU rules and still have access to the EU single market. This lasts until 31 December.
The polies effectively gave themselves 11 months to negotiate the terms of a Brexit divorce (something they hadn’t managed to do during the 4 years prior). There was an emergency brake built into the withdrawal agreement allowing for an extension of the transition period. But the deadline to pull this has now passed.
So come 1 January 2021, the status quo ends. The UK is out, with or without a deal. Access to the EU single market ends (subject to terms of new deal of course). More chaos ensues.
This presents a particularly thorny issue for Gibraltar, whose reluctant separation from EU was always going to be damaging. Once they are excluded from the EU single market their online gambling licenses aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
William Hill have kept the faith for a little longer, but they too are now leaving (also to Malta). This week customers have been receiving the following notification…
“We are pleased to announce that from 17th November our website Williamhill.com will operate under the Maltese Gaming Authority License. This is part of our strategy to mitigate Brexit.