The Government in the Isle of Man has outlined a five-year strategy for the online gaming industry that exists in the UK jurisdiction.
The strategy was revealed after a question from a Member of the House of Keys (the Isle of Man’s parliament) on the Government’s assessments of the UK Government’s plans to regulate online gambling on a point of consumption basis by December next year.
The dependency’s Economic Development Minister John Shimmin responded by saying the Government was working with the local online gaming industry to ensure that it would not be adversely impacted by the plans.
“My department is continuing to support existing e-gaming businesses, while seeking to also attract new licensable and non-licensable businesses to the sector, thus we hope bringing both balance and, crucially, diversity to the portfolio of businesses that make up the Isle of Man’s successful e-Gaming sector,n’s successful e-Gaming sector.” he said.
“It should also be noted that the UK is only one of a number of markets for our e-Gaming companies and that the impact of the change in the UK may well affect some of our competitive jurisdictions to a greater degree than the Isle of Man.”
A major part of the jurisdiction’s support of online gaming companies based in the Isle of Man is set to be via a five-year strategy that has been established. It is understood that the strategy, which was created as a result of the UK Government’s plans, will primarily focus on business diversification of the jurisdiction’s online gaming industry.
According to Mr Shimmin, discussions have taken place between the Isle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission and the UK Gambling Commission to gauge how the UK’s plans could affect online gaming companies in the Isle. He had positive feelings about the discussions of both Governments, describing them as “constructive”.
A number of online poker operators have their headquarters in the Isle of Man due to the island’s low-tax economy and 0 per cent corporate tax rate. By far the largest company to operate from the island is the largest in the poker world, PokerStars, which moved to the dependency from Costa Rica in 2005.
Microgaming, which operates the online poker service MPN, along with other real money games like blackjack and roulette, also bases its operations in the Isle of Man. Other gaming companies, such as 188Bet and Celton Manx, also base their operations in the jurisdiction. According to a 2011 Telegraph article, online gaming accounts for five per cent of the Isle of Man’s economy, with the industry having tripled in the five years before then.
Mr Shimmin emphasised that while his government needed to do all it can to ensure Isle of Man-based operators are not worse off from the UK’s changes, the jurisdiction would not be the only area affected by its plans.
“It is recognised that the UK’s plans to regulate at the point of consumption will affect all operators with customers in the UK market, regardless of the jurisdiction from which they operate,” Mr Shimmin said.