The Isle of Man, though a British dependency, is not a part of the United Kingdom. The region retains complete legislative independence and is not bound by the British laws. The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC), an independent authority committed to the protection of players, was established in 1962. The Isle of Man was one of the first few authorities to come up with legislation particularly meant for e-gaming and gambling companies. Since the introduction of this legislation in 2001, the well-known offshore jurisdiction has been supporting the growth of online gambling industry.
Apart from offering licenses and regulating brick and mortar casinos, the Gambling Supervision Commission also governs the dynamic internet gaming sector. The commission has introduced many internet gaming regulations including the Online Gambling Regulation Act (OGRA) 2001, which includes all betting games, chance games, random games and telecommunication games. The legislation has undergone changes recently to increase responsiveness to the industry needs and ensure effective protection of the players.
Online Gaming License Application Requirements
The first requirement for operators seeking an online gaming license from GSC is the establishment of a company in the region. The company should have a minimum of two local directors. The firm’s trading and gaming accounts should be based in an Isle of Man bank and its e-players and servers should also be registered in Manx. The operators are also required to appoint a resident DO (Designated Official) or OM (Operations Manager).
Activities like online casino games, sportsbooks, mobile phone betting, network gaming, live dealing, betting exchanges and the like require an OGRA license. But it is not required for gambling covered under a casino or a betting office license, the Isle of Man or UK National lottery, the Insurance Act 1986 defined activities and spread betting. An OGRA license has a validity of five years. The reduced fee sub-license scheme allows OGRA license holders to offer software, games and the like to sub-licensees.
To acquire an OGRA license, a number of documents need to be submitted along with the application form. These include a list of key officials in the firm, a personal declaration form, references for the officials and a detailed business plan. Operators also need to pay a processing fee of ₤1,000. Notifications from the director of GSC are sent to all applicants informing them whether the license has been approved or denied. In case of a negative response, the notification also offers the grounds for denial.
Worth noting is that the GSC has in place an independent appeal system if a player has rendered a complaint that has not been handled to their satisfaction. In the event a player does not agree with the Isle of Man’s GSC ruling, they can file an appeal to the Independent Betting Adjudication Service IBAS. Of course, this applies only to Isle of Man licenced gambling, betting, casino and bingo sites.
Additionally worth noting is that there is specific language in the GSC requirements that specify player funds “must be protected.” There is nothing that says “how” these funds are to be protected and a prudent means of protection would be segregation of player funds – listing them as protected. However, this is not a “requirement.” Failure to protect player funds can subject the operator to enforcement by law.
Online Gaming License – Fees and Taxes
To acquire a license from the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, initially operators are required to pay a processing fee of ₤1,000 along with their application forms. An OGRA license annual fee is ₤35,000. If an operator wishes to sub-license his software and games, he will have to pay ₤5,000 sub-license fee per year. Additionally, a levy may be changed to finance research and education for gambling addiction. The gambling duty depends on the gross gaming yield. The duties are 1.5%, 0.5% and 0.1% for gross gaming income slabs less than ₤20 million, between ₤20 and ₤40 million, and above ₤40 million respectively.
Bingo sites licenced via the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Committee
Mandalay Gaming Holdings Limited
First Floor, Millennium House
Douglas, Isle of Man, IM2 4RW
licenced bingo site: XBingo
Paddy Power Holdings Limited – 08000 565 275
12-14 Ridgeway Street
Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1EN
licenced bingo site: Paddy Power Bingo
UK Recognised Licencing Agencies
In addition to the Isle of Man G.S.C., the following agencies are approved to oversee remote gambling aimed towards European and UK bingo players:
Note that the Isle of Man’s G.S.C., as well as the other licencing agencies listed here are white listed (approved) by the UK Gambling Commission, which means that any bingo site who is licenced by any of the regulatory agencies listed can legally market to and provide games to UK residents.