As a company looking to get an online gambling licence what would you look for in your jurisdiction of choice? Tony Ure, Head of eGaming at Digital Isle of Man talks about the obvious and the often over-looked benefits of getting an Isle of Man licence.
Pressures on retail gambling operations (casinos, betting shops and lottery POS) in recent years has caused them to close temporality and for some to shutdown permanently. This has created a drive to acquire an online product for many businesses, which in turn has created an objective review of which licence jurisdiction to go with.
The obvious factor to consider when selecting a jurisdiction is the experience and reputation of the regulator. One that looks to be fair and helps businesses to grow whilst protecting the player and the company. While in the past some companies considered the Island’s Tier 1 adherence to these value, a potential barrier to taking an Isle of Man licence, it now seems in the current climate of enhanced compliance that our values are a unique selling point and this is driving a large pipeline of companies that want to obtain our licence. When a company takes an Isle of Man licence, they are demonstrating to players and potential investors alike that they are a trustworthy operator and one that adheres to strong ethical standards.
Whilst the regulator’s approach to compliance, AML/CFT, KYC procedures, player fund protection and problem gambling are a key decision maker, for companies looking for the next licence that will be the best fit for their global growth plans the Isle of Man has a lot more to offer.
Many companies are not just looking at where they can take a licence, but also where they can set up regional offices to manage different functions of their business; key to this is the support available within the sector including financial incentives to locate a business in this jurisdiction. The benefits of the Isle of Man from a financial viewpoint are compelling, with low betting duty, low corporation tax and attractive personal tax rates. Relocation incentives are also available for staff moving to the Isle of Man.
The Island’s ecosystem includes leading advisory, legal, banking, data hosting, software suppliers and corporate service providers with years of experience working for and with eGaming companies during start-up through to consolidation and expansion.
It is important to look at third party suppliers and their view of the jurisdiction and the ease of doing business for that party, whether it be banks, payment providers or 3rd party content suppliers. A licence from a premier jurisdiction like the Isle of Man opens doors for successful negotiations with merchants, software platforms and hardware providers, especially when there is a requirement for ‘Enhanced Due Diligence’ on transactions and interactions.
For companies looking to enter regulated markets it is important to consider the prospective regulator’s view of the current licences and the quality of those licences. There have been numerous occurrences where businesses going to obtain a licence in another country have been turned down by the regulator because they are less than pleased with their current licences. Consequently, there have been several approaches from these companies to obtain an Isle of Man licence as quickly as possible to enable them to pass due diligence for a regulator in another country.
Digital Isle of Man has experience with operators from these countries and we can support businesses to help them comply with any requirements.
The Isle of Man offers a streamlined licensing process via a clear regime with all verticals under one licence. This means the licence turnaround time is usually between 10 to 12 weeks.
It is also not unheard of for Stock Exchanges to block an acquisition until the business had secured a Tier 1 licence such as the Isle of Man online gambling licence. Similarly, businesses that are looking for investment and are performing funding rounds have encountered reluctance from investors dependant on the licences they currently hold from certain jurisdictions.
Many businesses have recently moved their focus to new markets such as LATAM, Africa, Asia and have found the Isle of Man, with its vast experience in these continents, to be the perfect licensing partner. With banks and Payment Service Providers now requiring higher standards of AML/CFT and KYC in these markets, the Isle of Man is the natural choice.
Now, while reputation and quality are definitely both key pillars of an Isle of Man licence, equally important is the regulator’s dedication to ongoing innovation. With both eGaming products and the way users access them changing all the time, it pays to be at the forefront of the latest developments. The Isle of Man is the first top tier jurisdiction to create legislation allowing digital currency and virtual items, such as skins, to be used as a stake and prize.
A much ignored benefit of the Isle of Man licence is location. Being part of the Common Travel Area can have great benefits for companies located on the Isle of Man. The ability to freely travel between the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man can have many benefits operationally and logistically for companies that have frequent trips to the UK and Ireland. Additionally, the ability to use pre-customs clearance for trips to the USA from Dublin is an under-rated benefit for those companies with frequent travel to the US.
In a global industry that is increasingly competitive and where consumers are demanding better services all the time, the Isle of Man licence offers an unbeatable combination: reputation, quality and business efficiency. Get in touch with a member of our team if you want to learn more about how an Isle of Man online gaming licence can benefit your company.
Tony Ure, Head of eGaming
Sep 15, 2023
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