VIRGIN Bet has announced its launch in Gibraltar, just a fortnight after Bet365’s Rock exit plan was revealed.
The Gamesys Group, which has an office of 50 people on the Rock, is behind the roll-out of the new betting service.
Virgin Bet takes its name from the Virgin Group founded by Sir Richard Branson, which also sold Virgin Games to Gamesys in 2013.
The Government congratulated Virgin Bet on its successful application of a gambling license, and new partnership with SBTech, allowing it operate in Gibraltar.
It also cited Gibraltar as, ‘the only jurisdiction which has guaranteed market access to the UK’ after Brexit, as a factor behind the move.
Minister for Commerce, Albert Isola, said: “We maintain that Gibraltar is a leading jurisdiction from which to operate a remote gambling business.
“A large number of existing operators, despite Brexit challenges, continue to maintain faith in the jurisdiction.”
His words come despite the recent announcement by Bet365 that it was beginning a €70 million Brexit transition from Gibraltar to Malta.
Another Government statement two weeks ago read: “It is clear that the decisions announced by Bet365 are directly related to Brexit and not to any matter otherwise related to Gibraltar.”
The statement, from the office of Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, was blasted by opposition party the GSD, which expressed ‘concern’ and ‘disappointment’ at a potential 500 jobs leaving the Rock.
Party spokesperson Orlando Yeats said: “Apart from the job losses this announcement will have a knock-on effect on the local economy.”
A well-placed Bet365 source told the Olive Press that employees in its Waterport Place office in Gibraltar have been given eight weeks to decide on a move to Malta.
Gamesys Group reported a revenue of €324.9 million for the first quarter of last year, which it attributed to the success of its Virgin Games B2C brand.
Gamesys’ Gibraltar Marketing Director Simon Mizzi said: “We’re excited to launch Virgin Bet into the world’s most competitive sportsbook market.
“We feel that Gibraltar is the perfect location for us to base our operations.”