Interview with Warwick Bartlett

Bartlett: Brexit and Trump are non issues for our industry

warwickbartletttopWarwick Bartlett, has one of Britains most passionate gaming minds.
And he is positive about the coming years, for the I-Gaming industry.
Uncertainty problems with Brexit and Donald Trump? Rather positives, if anything…

Warwick Bartlett is the Chief Executive and founder of the Global Betting and Gaming Consultancy (GBGC.com)
Warwick has, prior to that, been chairman of ABB (The Association of British Bookmakers, the leading trade association for betting shop operators, on the UK’s high streets). He has also been chairman of the Bookmakers Committee to the Levy Board in the UK, and held a seat on the Horserace betting Levy Board, for the same period.

Warwick is one of the speakers, at Copperbergs I-Gaming Forum in Stockholm, on April 5-6, 2017. And he thinks that there will be a lot of issues to talk about.

Taxation and Regulations, will top the bill. But he does not see the top mainstream political issues of this year, the Brexit issue and the election of Donald Trump, creating any lasting buzz.

The Brexit issue, according to Warwick Bartlett, is primarily focussed on whether the border will stay open with the gaming hub of Gibraltar.
But according to Bartlett it is in Spains interest, to keep it open.

– 3 000 to 4 000 workers, are crossing that border every day. The southern tip of Spain, has the highest rate of youth unemployment. And trade with the UK, is in favour of Spain at the rate of 2 to 1. So the Spanish are best off, leaving things as they are. However very often in politics emotion rules the day rather than pragmatism.

Warwick continues:
– Most European countries are operating, on the “point of consumption” basis. And those that are not, will probably be in the future. IWhere you relocate offshore will ultimately be decided on the tax rate on the bet and corporation tax, communication infrastructure and availability of trained staff..
– Donald Trump is saying, that he will lower the corporation tax rate to 15 per cent, to cause American companies, to repatriate funds being held outside the United States. And the British government has said post Brexit, that they are going to lower their corporation tax rate, to make the UK an interesting place for companies to register their businesses.

The recent election of Donald Trump in the USA has, according to Bartlett, even less reason to rattle the industry in any way, than Brexit. After all he has owned casinos so at least we have a President who is not opposed to gambling.
– I don’t really see a great deal of uncertainty with president elect Donald Trump. Trump has pretty much outlined, what his policies are going to be, going forward. He seems to be moving quite quickly, in forming his inner cabinet and generally producing policies for which he was elected. He has also hired some intelligent bright people for his cabinet.
– And the effect of this is, already visible on the market. The dollar has gone up, and so has the American stock market. At first there was a fall, but then a recovery, and now it’s gone beyond that. And the dollar looks like being strong, for at least another six months.

What other issues, will be catching Warwicks interest, next year?
– There are eleven headwinds facing us! For example, the UK government, is introducing a tax, on free play bets. There is the “Self-exclusion database”, eliminating prospective, and even current gamblers. There are IML requirements. The Competitions and Market Authority investigation, into the terms and conditions that online companies use, and there is always the potential, in this business, that taxes will be increased.

warwickbartlett1Warwick continues:
– The UK Government, currently is considering the imposition of televised adverts for gambling products along with the the potential for VAT, on a “point of consumption basis”. This will create a VAT paymneny based on where the customer lives. Those are some real, and potential headwinds, that could affect the industry in 2017.

But generally speaking, the gaming business is doing well:
– The UK market, will have grown around 13 per cent in 2016. Global industry growth till 2019, will be around ten per cent. This does not take into account what may happen in the US under Trump, or what may happen in countries like Brazil, Japan, India or Germany. The consumer likes to gamble and loves to gamble online because of better value and the access of more information. Growth in a world where there is little growth will remain strong in i-gaming.

Editor: Robert Okpu