For those of you using various betting sites licensed and operated out of Gibraltar (the largest UK-based offshore base for online gambling), you may have noticed a few things out of the ordinary over Easter Weekend. An explosion and subsequent fire at a Gibraltar power station knocked a massive amount of the isthmus out of power. Major online casino sports betting sites – namely William Hill – were unable to process real money gambling wagers during the power outage.
The explosion happened on Easter Sunday in one of the power station’s generators, after what is being reported were “mechanical problems”. It is still very early in the ongoing investigation to determine exactly what this mechanical issue was.
There were massive clouds of thick smoke escaping the flames, and the fire was visible from all corners of the territory. There weren’t any casualties, and nobody was hurt, thankfully. The same can’t be said for the online gambling industry. The explosion’s after-fire interrupted Gibtelecom services, bringing a screeching halt to various big-time internet casino sites that also included worldwide betting services such as Ladbrokes.
Known as a huge tax haven for offshore endeavors (yet not the only region for this in the UK), Gibralter has been a leading online wagering base for a majority of the topmost rated casino sites for well over a decade. In fact, Gibraltar’s low tax rates have attracted more than 25 major online gambling brands and various gaming operators. Gibraltar hails that some 60% of online gambling licensures are based in the territory located near the western entrance to the Mediterranean Sea next to Spain and north of Morocco.
William Hill Casino Online, which is consistently one of our highest recommended UK/Euro online gambling hubs, lost power for nearly 3 hours. The offices of William Hill house about fifty employees. Due to close proximity to the explosion and blaze, they were also evacuated by police and firefighters after the fire broke out.
While this was a freak accident and no person could have predicted it to happen at the moment it did, there will certainly be those consumers who believe their wager was interrupted and perhaps inadvertently affected by the outage. Most all online casino sites directly affected have made timely announcements and apologies to any affected gambling fans.
Wagers made before the event were not negated or lost; players and bettors simply could not wager during the power blackout occurrence.
No customer data was compromised during the event. The inability to continue playing was the essential problem, and there were no reports of account glitches or other inconveniences at this time.
While William Hill experienced nearly three hours of downtime, other sites experienced a varying degree of outages based on the grid they are fed energy from. Betfred was down more than 6 hours.
Gibraltar police have already ruled out any foul play or suspicious acts of sabotage to the power station, and the incident is still being treated as a mechanical failure of some sort.
Spain relinquished any legal hold on Gibraltar to Britain in 1713, and has since continually argued that Gibraltar should be returned to Spanish sovereignty. Spain has set up a working group within its taxing entity to analyze tax payments made in Gibraltar under suspicion that they do not receive the same treatment as others. In January 2011, Gibraltar did away with its “exempt status tax regime” under which several companies evaded taxation. In its place, Gibraltar introduced a single 10% tax.