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Online Gambling in the Isle of Man and Ireland

By: R. Kingsley, Friday December 5th 2008
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The Isle of Man has passed the Gambling Supervision Bill 2008, which aims to strengthen the existing regulatory mechanism without changing its nature. This bill will accord a statutory status to the Gambling Supervision Commission and more clearly define its functions of monitoring and regulating the existing legislation. The objectives of the Gambling Supervision Commission have been defined as ensuring fairness and transparency in gambling including in online gambling, preventing the occurrence of underage or problem gambling, keeping the criminal elements away from gambling activities and generating revenue from gambling so that it contributes to the island's economy. The Commission will consist of at least five members of which at least one member will have at least five years' standing in the legal fraternity, at least one member will have experience of online business and at least one member will have experience of gambling business. The Gambling Supervision Commission will operate under the Treasury.

The environment in the Isle of Man is being considered as favorable by the international online gambling industry. Thirteen operators have been issued licenses, three operators have been approved and the process of issuing licenses is in progress and six applications for licenses are under consideration. Two of the latest licensees are Fastbet and the Swedish company NYX Interactive. Fastbet is expected to create 15 new jobs over the next year and NYX Interactive is expected to recruit 100 people over the next five years. Garth Kimber, the head of e-gaming development at the Department of Trade and Industry, has expressed satisfaction at the turn of events. He said that the regulatory mechanism put in place is paying off because the entry of companies like Fastbet and NYX Interactive will "significantly increase the size of the industry with jobs and the money going through the banking system." Both Jonas Blomqvist, chief operating officer at NYX Interactive, and Ian Gilfillan, betting exchange director at Fastbet, have praised the online gambling policies of the Isle of Man as being conducive to doing business there.

Whereas the Isle of Man is looking to generating revenue from online gambling, Ireland has put its proposal of taxing online gambling on hold. The Finance Ministry has decided to temporarily continue the existing policy of not taxing online casinos. Brian Lenihan, the Irish Finance Minister, said that the government needed more time to study the impact of taxing online gambling before taking a final call on the issue. Ireland enjoys a competitive advantage by not taxing online gambling and this advantage is bringing in fresh business and leading to job creation. Ireland does not want to upset the apple cart. Ireland however has imposed a small new tax on land-based casinos and gambling establishments. It is one country that is favoring online gambling over land-based gambling.

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