William Hill to open satellite office in Malta
Another betting giant is planning to establish a presence in Malta. William Hill, a legacy sportsbook giant largely geared towards the UK-market, is looking to hedge against Brexit by opening a satellite office in Malta.
The initial Malta operation is expected to be relatively small, with a small number of employees based there. "We are setting up a Malta office and a small initial organisation for our international facing business post-Brexit. All current locations are unaffected by the new operation," explains chief digital office Ulrik Bengtsson, who has a history in Malta as a former Betsson chief. Founded in 1934, William Hill already has a presence in nine countries and over 15,000 employees on its roster.
In addition to its UK and Australian market share, William Hill runs its online business from its Gibraltar HQ, with its marketing and customer service functions in Israel, Bulgaria and the Philippines. It also has licensed websites in Italy and Spain, and William Hill US operates in the states of Nevada and Delaware.
“With William Hill's online customer base overwhelmingly in the UK, Gibraltar will continue to be its key operational hub post-Brexit. However, Malta provides an option for international operations should they be required after Brexit so an exploratory project team is being recruited with regulatory, legal and compliance roles,” a company spokesman said.
According to CEO Philip Bowcock, Mr Bengtsson's appointment could refocus the industry giant on the Nordics, as well as Central and Eastern Europe, making Brexit an added concern for a company looking to penetrate those markets. The William Hill announcement came with assurances that other sectors of the company would remain unaffected. Bet365 also announced its intention to open a strong presence in Malta recently, suggesting that the island is seen as a safe haven for companies of that calibre, especially those looking to makes themselves Brexit-proof.