EGAMING ON THE ISLE OF MAN: MORE THAN JUST A LICENCE
15 September 2023
In this article, Mark O’Neill, Director of Global Gaming Solutions, writes about the lesser-known advantages that the Isle of Man offers to online gambling operators and software providers.
The Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea, is a self-governing British Crown dependency renowned for its Celtic and Viking influences. In modern times, the Isle of Man stands as a premier jurisdiction, widely recognised as an attractive home for online gambling operators and software providers alike. The Isle of Man enacted the Online Gambling Regulation Act in 2001 and has built and withheld a strong position within the online gambling market for over 20 years.
There are many articles about the Isle of Man and the benefits that come with establishing a presence here. Benefits such as: the jurisdiction offers a Tier 1 online gambling licence, a favourable tax regime, a simplified licensing process and an approximate 12-week turnaround from licence application submission to obtaining a licence. Of course, these are great benefits, but having lived and worked on the Island for over a decade, there are many crucial advantages which fall under the radar that businesses should be aware of.
The Isle of Man Government’s Department for Enterprise houses several business-oriented agencies, including Digital Isle of Man, which is dedicated to fostering the growth of the technology sector on the Island, of which eGaming plays a huge part. It is essential to distinguish between Digital Isle of Man and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) — the latter being the regulatory body overseeing the gambling activities in the Isle of Man.
Digital Isle of Man stands as a pillar of support for eGaming businesses, with Strategic Partners on-hand to guide them from inception to sustained operation, helping leverage the opportunities that the Isle of Man presents. The Department for Enterprise also has a variety of financial assistance schemes available, to support businesses to thrive in the Isle of Man.
Active globally, Digital Isle of Man attend and exhibit at various eGaming conferences around the world. Frequently in collaboration with industry partners from the Isle of Man’s private sector and the GSC. Demonstrating their continued support to the sector and on-island businesses. On a local scale, they work with businesses in the Isle of Man to maximise their growth potential, help them to overcome barriers to business, and ensure there is an inclusive link between the Island's digital sector and Government. They also host free-to-attend quarterly events encouraging networking and collaboration among the Island-based businesses and professionals.
Adding to this network of support is another governmental arm, Locate Isle of Man, which aids individuals considering relocating to the Island. Guiding them through the relocation process while acquainting them with available benefits such as national insurance holidays and relocation incentives. In addition to these incentives, there are several visa programmes which are available to businesses that are looking to invest in the Isle of Man.
It is no secret that banking and payments in the eGaming sector can be difficult depending on the jurisdiction you are licensed in. Having worked with operators and software providers in other jurisdictions, banking is certainly a problem if you are looking for local brick-and-mortar banking solutions. At best, newly licensed operators and software providers in certain jurisdictions would have to put their trust in local electronic money institution providers (EMI) which will facilitate transactions on behalf of their clients.
The Isle of Man is a game changer in this aspect, simply because there are multiple banks that welcome eGaming business, not only software providers but operators as well. We have seen local banks provide a one-week turnaround time to open an account for eGaming businesses, which is quicker than most EMIs. In addition to this, there are also local providers that offer digital asset services and fiat currency wallet solutions for eGaming businesses. eGaming businesses can open corporate accounts which allow them to receive cryptocurrency and convert this into fiat currency almost instantly. The opening times for these accounts can also be completed within a matter of days.
With a population of 84,000 people and its size being 33 miles long and 13 miles wide, naturally, people would think that the Isle of Man has a basic infrastructure to support the population. But in fact, it is quite the opposite. The Isle of Man is home to five data centres, each with resilient cooling, power, and security infrastructures. Each data centre can offer services such as colocation, cloud solutions, IP transit, and managed hosting. Leveraging numerous fibre connections linking it to the UK and Ireland, the Island ensures smooth onward connectivity, presenting a significant advantage to eGaming operators.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICE PROVIDERS
The Isle of Man is a reputable international financial centre which has positioned itself as a professional and stable jurisdiction, not only because of the Government, but also the local service providers that maintain consistently high standards. The Island is home to a number of corporate service providers, law firms and other professional businesses with dedicated eGaming expert staff, all of which play a huge part in ensuring the Isle of Man’s success in the eGaming sector.
In conclusion, the Isle of Man offers numerous advantages, going beyond the mere provision of gambling licences. What truly distinguishes it as a preferred jurisdiction for leading operators and software providers is its collaborative and supportive ecosystem, encouraging them to establish a base of operations on the Island.
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