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Good News in Online Gambling Jurisdictions

By: Joan Peppin, Saturday March 6th 2010
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This is the time of the year when online gambling operators and software providers declare results and forecast future performance. Two independent news items this week show that online gambling jurisdictions share the exuberance about the future.

The first items comes from Isle of Man. The Manx eGaming Association (MeGA), a group of online gambling companies, has released the results of survey commissioned by it. This survey has been an annual feature since 2006 and has provided useful inputs for the decision making processes. The employment in the online gaming sector in Isle of Man increased by 18% in 2009 and is expected to rise by a similar amount this year. The taxes paid by the online gaming companies are growing exponentially. The taxes paid in 2009 were £11.2 million, which was more than double the previous year’s amount. The estimate of taxes for 2010 is £19.1 million.

Though the MeGA members were happy with the growth in business they said that the growth in employment was below target. The reasons cited for the shortfall was uncertainty in the economy and changes in policy by some members. Whereas the second reason may be true the first one is not supported by the economic numbers generated in the survey. What is good news for Isle of Man is that more than half the employment in the online gaming business is local and therefore any growth in this sector has a beneficial cascading effect on the economy of the island.

The second news item comes from Cyprus, which is another popular online gaming jurisdiction. Online gambling consultants, Global Betting and Gambling, had carried out a study and the salient findings were made public by Ionas Nicolaou, chairman of the House Legal Affairs Committee, and reported by the Cyprus Mail. The news item said that the turnover from online gambling in 2008 was €2.5 billion. Of this 30% was contributed by one online gambling operator alone. The report did not name the operator. The estimated gross profit made by Cyprus online gambling operators in 2008 was €400 million. The other salient figure for 2008 was that credit card spending on online gambling was €100 million. The Global Betting and Gambling study predicted that the turnover from online gambling would double €5 billion by 2012 and the gross profit would soar accordingly.

However, there was a dampener in the news report from the Cyprus Mail. The online gambling law in Cyprus was amended in 2007 to make it European Union compliant. But now some legislators are pressing to exclude online gambling from the acceptable list of European Union services. Politician Aristofanis Georgiou who is spearheading this movement said that the objective was to protect Cypriot society.

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