Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Will The EU Restrict UK Markets?


 In May 2015 the announcement of the European Union Referendum Bill in the Queen's Speech was not the major news story it perhaps should have been. At the time, it was viewed as an effort by then Prime Minister David Cameron to quell the dissenting Euro-sceptic voices amongst his backbenches.

As the following 5 years of action, in-fighting and political drama have shown, the EU referendum was anything but a trivial matter. As the prospect of a no-deal scenario plays out, what will it mean for British industry?

Could the EU restrict certain British markets in the coming years, or will they flourish, free from the watchful eye of Brussels? Read on to find out.

The Brexit Landscape

At the time of writing Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen are still busily thrashing out the details of a post-Brexit trade deal between the EU and the UK. However, it seems increasingly likely that the UK will crash out of the EU with no deal.

What this means is that the UK will immediately revert to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on trade. Whilst this would free the country of the EU's rules, it would make the country's industries liable to potentially heavy EU tariffs.

In addition to this, industries that had been previously intertwined in the EU's regulations will find it hard to find their place in a post no-deal landscape.

This will be a worst-case scenario for both sides of the negotiating table, but at the time of writing does seem to be the most likely outcome. So, with that in mind, lets look at a couple of industries that could be most affected by a no-deal Brexit.

Online Igaming

Virgin Games, one of the biggest Online Casino providers in the UK is not based in London, Glasgow or Cardiff. Rather, like most of the big names in the British igaming market it is based out of the British territory Gibraltar.

Others who don't use Gibraltar as a hub tend to opt instead for Malta, for a myriad of tax and regulation reasons. Traditionally basing themselves in the centre of the continent like this has brought many benefits in terms of European expansion.

Virgin for example, do not only offer their online casino services to British gamers, but also to gamers from all around Europe.

A no-deal Brexit deal won't have an impact on igaming companies' British taxes and regulatory concerns. However, it will have a direct impact on the profits that they rake in from European gamers.

Just like American and Australian igaming companies, Virgin and other British suppliers will be subject to EU tariffs. What this is likely to mean is that British igaming companies European influence will be massively curtailed on the continent.

This will most likely lead to a surge in domestic EU igaming companies who will finally be able to wrestle back control of their own markets from British suppliers. How companies like Virgin are planning to deal with these tariffs and a tougher trading environment remains to be seen.


If the UK does indeed leave the EU with no-deal the value of the pound will fall, there are no doubts about that. In an increasingly global economy where businesses trade not only with domestic customers, but also with foreign clients, this could be catastrophic for British businesses.

Money will be lost on deals, profits will be slashed, and purchasing will become more difficult, but those aren't the biggest problems that a no-deal Brexit will present to the world of ecommerce.

British ecommerce companies will need to change the way that they process and store sensitive data as well as making sure that they adhere to strict EU operating guidelines whenever they sell within the Union.

So not only will they be losing money in the most basic terms from a lower value domestic currency, but they will have to invest more time to ensure that their products adhere to EU guidelines as well as British guidelines.

Sellers who are shipping alcohol products, tobacco products or energy products will also need to be weary of strict customs laws that could see their products sitting in storage containers for days and weeks before they reach their intended recipient.

In Summary

The EU has been criticised by Euro-sceptics for being prohibitive to British trade and customs for decades. However, if those critics thought that it was tough to trade as part of the EU then they will be in for a rude awakening when they discover the difficulty of doing so from the outside.

There are of course parts of the EU's regulations on trading that many can rightly point to as restrictive to business. However, as part of the EU the biggest benefit to companies is a uniformity and consistent trading environment for everyone.

Separation from that Union forces British companies to not only adhere to their own domestic regulations but to those of the EU as well. In addition to that, there will also be tariffs imposed on British businesses that will slash their profits.

Will the EU restrict British markets in the coming years? Absolutely, but perhaps it is wiser to ask who is responsible for this, the EU or the UK?

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
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Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames