Over the last twenty years the Isle of Man has established itself as a leading jurisdiction in the eGaming space, with a focus on accommodating business evolution, in order to create a diverse and agile environment for businesses to grow. We foster close relationships between government, businesses and regulators, embrace innovative technologies and provide wide market access to different regions. These wide-ranging benefits make the Isle of Man an ideal location to license an eGaming business.
Our approach is focused on three core principles: ensuring that gambling is crime free, protecting the young and vulnerable, and making sure that the facilities offered by licence holders are fair. We apply these principles to the operators and suppliers that we license. Our process is so robust that in the nearly two decades that we have been licensing eGaming organisations, not once have we had a player lose funds due to a company failing.
The Isle of Man is unique in having a pragmatic regulator who looks at what the industry needs are and assesses how regulation can be moulded in order to help businesses grow. eGaming was first advanced in the Isle of Man back in 2001 when the Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) introduced new legislation in order to support online gambling; this was intended to benefit firms, the gambling sector and to fully protect customers. In the years since then, as the number of eGaming businesses licensed in the Isle of Man has grown, the GSC has continued to implement new regulation and different licenses in order to support businesses.
The Isle of Man licence enables businesses to have wider market access to new regions such as Asia and Africa. Operators targeting these markets are looking for jurisdictions which have a strong reputation and strike a balance between keeping crime out and supporting high quality businesses. The Isle of Man can offer a gateway to Asia with a robust yet fair licensing regime, a pro-growth taxation system and a world-class infrastructure, but it also gives Asian companies a chance to expand further into the West.
More recently, in 2015, digital currency and AML were included under crime regulations, which allowed us to control such virtual currencies in the Island, and they can now be used as a deposit and withdrawal mechanism for online gaming as well as non-convertible virtual currencies.
The Isle of Man’s focus and legacy is based around the importance of player protection. All businesses should be guaranteeing player safety. Action must be taken to ensure player health, encourage responsible gambling and establish a protected gambling environment, which will reap happier and safer customers in the long term.
We believe that now is the time for proactivity. Professionals in the industry must work alongside regulators, accept the outcomes of research insights and make a conscious effort to support an atmosphere that retains the excitement of gambling, without risking the wellbeing of consumers. Player protection is inherently built into Isle of Man regulation, and this protective regulation ensures gambling safe for all.
If we can encourage the establishment of progressive gambling initiatives then players, profits and reputations around the world will be safer and better protected.
The Isle of Man first cemented itself as a player in the space in the early 2000’s when Pokerstars (The Stars Group) and Microgaming arrived in the Island. These companies have excelled as a result and are now among the Island’s largest employers. The Isle of Man remains an ideal location for eGaming businesses to grow. We ensure close relationships between government and industry, support companies closely for their entire stay, and are nurturing innovative technology to assist firms in the Island. The success of our offering has been clear in the growth of applications to our Blockchain Office, the increased number of licensees, and most importantly the achievements of firms such as Pokerstars, Microgaming and FunFair based here.
We have recently introduced a new strategic partnership team and engagement model. Consequently, we are seeing far closer relationships across the industry with more clarity around the ways in which we can support businesses overcome barriers to growth. We are also working on ensuring that regulators and legislation are aligned with the latest innovative technology. As a result, our objective is to help businesses navigate the changing landscape, focus on growth and consolidate their position within the market.
The Island also provides a myriad of other benefits and incentives for eGaming businesses specifically. We have a strong infrastructure system set up, in contrast to many other jurisdictions, which has stable power and data centres set up in the Island, with an uninterrupted data flow into the US as a result of sub-sea cables connecting the UK and US. Our established eGaming ecosystem also includes additional support and facilities such as corporate service providers, lawyers, payment service providers, recruiters and banks.
We are continually looking at ways in which we can support businesses, both through advice and financially, as they make the move to the Isle of Man. We appreciate that businesses may require additional skilled staff who are not available locally, and therefore the island has a unique ‘Employee Relocation Incentive Scheme’, which provides financial assistance when jobs are filled by off-island worker. This assistance is by way of a grant, of 20% of the salary, paid to the employer after the first year of their employment enabling employers to help with relocation costs In addition to this we have other grants available to help companies with the costs of locating in the Isle of Man.
The Isle of Man has established itself as a world-leading jurisdiction in the eGaming space. We are continuing to support businesses who choose to license in the Isle of Man by fostering close relationships with government and regulators, embracing innovative technology and providing market access for emerging markets. This is underpinned by an unrivalled approach to player protection, which is integrated into regulation on the island.
We remain at the cutting edge of the industry, which evolves on a monthly basis, to ensure we continue to protect consumers while allowing business to be successful and sustainable.
Written by Tony Ure, Head of eGaming at Digital Isle of Man
Nov 16, 2023
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