Gibraltar-based Bet365 has played down claims that it is relocating to Malta, although it plans a major expansion in that country.
The company was responding to an article in The Sunday Times of Malta suggesting Bet365 would move up to 1,000 of its employees from Gibraltar to Malta after Brexit.
It described the report as “speculation” and said the numbers quoted were “wholly inaccurate”.
But the company, which holds a Class 2 sports betting licence issued by the Malta Gaming Authority and has marketing operations based in Malta, confirmed it was scaling up its presence there.
Bet365 insisted though that it remained committed to Gibraltar and would maintain its presence here.
The Sunday Times of Malta said the move would significantly boost Malta’s economy and dependence on the online gambling industry.
It said Bet365 had already signed a promise of sale agreement to acquire a large part of a new property development on the Tigné peninsula in Sliema to serve as the company’s hub of operations.
“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,” a spokesman for Bet365 said.
“We are taking additional property space and looking to recruit additional personnel in Malta to support our online operations and will also be expanding our infrastructure capabilities there.”
“It should be noted however, that the number of people reported as being relocated to Malta are wholly inaccurate.”
“Notwithstanding these plans for Malta, we can confirm that we will be retaining our strong presence in, and commitment to, Gibraltar where our main operational hub is based and will continue to maintain our existing dual regulatory and licensing strategy and presence.”
The Gibraltar Government also reacted to the report in The Sunday Times of Malta, which it described as “inaccurate”.
Albert Isola, the Minister for Gambling, said the government had “a high degree of confidence” that there would be positive outcome for Gibraltar companies as the Brexit negotiations progressed.
“We nonetheless understand that business needs certainty and has to manage risk, he added.
“There is no single risk management solution here as the issues are complex.”
“That is why we are working with operators and with other jurisdictions to establish the best overall regulatory framework in which to do business.”
Mr Isola said Bet365 had confirmed directly to the government that it remained “totally committed to Gibraltar and the entirety of it’s workforce here”.
“They are not leaving Gibraltar by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.
“Neither are they having to choose between us and Malta.”
“What remains true is that Gibraltar remains the jurisdiction of choice for the most reputable gaming companies in the world. Brexit isn’t going to change that.”