Effects on the UK's online gaming industry were not necessarily at the top of the list of concerns heading into Brexit. Nevertheless, this industry accounts for massive revenue and a lot of jobs, not to mention constant entertainment for countless people both in the UK and abroad. Significant disruption to gaming businesses would have been an unfortunate side effect of separation from the EU, to say the least.
The good news, however, is that no such significant disruption appears to have occurred. Granted, it's a little bit difficult as of early 2021 to make a wholly accurate assessment of gaming industries. As was noted in a report on Nintendo at BBC News, gaming revenues have boomed during COVID-19. The report was primarily referring to Nintendo profits, but specifically noted that UK online gaming has soared as well. It goes without saying that this is related to the fact that people spent most of 2020 stuck in isolation and entertaining themselves digitally.
Even if the COVID factor has skewed things in favour of strong performance for the gaming industry though, the overall conditions look strong. This is the case for a few different reasons.
First and maybe most important is that the UK doesn't just host major casino gaming platforms — it also develops many of the top-performing games. A look through Foxy Games' post on the most popular games in 2020 reports that out of the 10 selected titles, eight were produced by developers that are either partially or entirely based in the UK. These include the likes of CR Games, Blueprint Gaming, Slingo Originals, and even Foxy Games itself. The hope, of course, is that this doesn't matter anyway, and that even European developers like NetEnt continue to supply popular games without issue. But it's encouraging to know that many of the top games are those produced in country.
Another encouraging factor is the spiteful attitude of the EU — which as noted in another blog post increases the likelihood of swift economic divergence. This is a more general point regarding the status of Brexit, but it does have bearing on the future of the UK's casino gaming empire. Should EU bitterness begin to affect which games are accessible and in which countries, we believe that the UK will only be emboldened to further its own dominance in this industry. Given the developers mentioned above and the numerous gaming platforms based in the UK, the infrastructure is in place to compete effectively with the EU should such competition become necessary.
Where there is still some potential for problems is in labour in both the UK and Gibraltar. In the UK, one of the primary long-term concerns some have raised regarding Brexit has always been the possibility of a gradual decline in talent and innovation. While there's no indication this is a problem just yet, it is possible that fewer workers from abroad contributing to the UK's online casino industry could stall development. The same could conceivably happen in Gibraltar, which is a busy corner of the online casino industry as well — though Politico noted recently that temporary trade and immigration deals between the UK and Spain regarding The Rock are subject to change. So we may not know what awaits the industry in Gibraltar for some time yet.
All in all though, the picture is encouraging. The online casino industry in the UK looks strong post-Brexit, and any potential negatives are merely hypotheticals at this point. It appears for now as if these businesses are among those that will move forward unimpeded, and potentially even strengthen.