Situated in the Irish Sea and close to the English coastline, the Isle of Man has managed over the years to become a part of the top tier gaming jurisdictions nicknamed “The Big 4”. This group contains gaming regulatory authorities like Gibraltar, Alderney and Malta. The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission was first established in 1962, making it one of the longest-running gaming jurisdictions. It also set the pace in 2001 when it was one of the very first states to create legislation to license and regulate online gaming.
As it happens, this was a departure from the standard practice, as other nations globally preferred to adapt already existing laws on gambling to encompass online gaming. The Isle of Man instead chose to create legislation specific to online gaming. This law was the Online Gambling Registration Act or OGRA 2001. The intention was to attract operators to the island while also having at its very foundation the policy of player protection.
Over the years, the Commission focus on security and fairness has kept it on good terms with the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, which houses the largest market in the area. In turn, this has enabled the gaming commission to remain on it’s the UKGC’swhitelist, which permits marketing to be carried out within the UK.
- What does it do?
- What protections it offers the players
- How does it rate compared with other authorities
What does it do?
The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission requires that online gambling companies apply for an OGRA license if they desire to operate any form of gambling services. Such services include money sports and games like Exchange Betting, Sports Books, Online casinos, P2P Gaming, Games involving Live dealers, Mobile Device Betting, Financial trading, Fantasy Sports, Pool Betting, Networked Games, Pari-mutuel betting, and Lotteries. While it lists the services that require a license, the Commission understands that there could be other forms not registered to be covered by an OGRA, and has been willing to accept proposals on these other activities.
As soon as a license gets issued, it remains valid for 5years. The extended validity period is one that appeals to numerous operators as they don't have to bother with a yearly renewal process with other jurisdictions, which is often costly and time-consuming.
What Protection does it offer players?
For operators who require the Isle of Man issued license, there are four options available. These are controlled game machines, betting offices, online gambling, and land-based traditional casinos. The online gambling category is only applicable for operators that want to operate a card room or an online casino.
The first stage to processing a license begins with the operator filling all necessary paperwork which enables the Commission to investigate the applicants’ motives and intentions, while also making sure they don’t have a criminal misconduct record.
Every casino software has to be inspected to certify its reliability and fairness. The testing, however, has to be done by any of the thirteen Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission's approved testing institutes.
The Commission also requires prospective licensees to have a bank account within the borders of the Isle, while the companies also need to have an operations manager and two directors based on the island. Without these preconditions being met, an operator cannot be granted a license and have the seal of the nation displayed on its site.
Another requirement is that an auditing exercise has to carry out at random times periods to make sure a license holder is adhering to the requirements demanded by the Commission. In addition to adhering to the required levels of security and fairness, the prospective licensee also has to pay taxes and a couple of fees.
For starters, there is a £5,000 administration fee incurred to get the process rolling, a £35,000 cost which has to be paid annually to get a full license. Should the operator desire to service foreign players, without the re-registration of their details, it then has to get a Network Service license at the cost of £50,000 annually. When it comes to tax, licensees have to pay a tax rate that is dependent on their gross gaming revenue bracket.The amount paid annually can be anywhere between 0.1 and 1.5 percent gross revenue annually.
The Commission also acts as an arbitrator for issues that arise between players and one of its licensees. The first point of recourse for a player is always the online casino operator, however, if that doesn't lead to a resolution that both parties can see as fair, the Commission enables players to send a complaint via its channels, and send every bit of evidence relating to the issue at hand. As soon as the Commission receives the information, it then starts it’s investigation, reviewing all provided testimony from the player and casino before making a final ruling.
How does it rate compared to other authorities?
As one of the Better Casino Licensing authorities globally, we give the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission a well deserved 8/10
The commission has earned a reputation for looking out for players while ensuring operators are running gambling services that do not run afoul of its rules. This due diligence has helped it become part of the UKGC's whitelist of trustworthy and reputable gaming regulator and licensing jurisdictions.
The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission is a reputable licensing body. Casinos holding a license from this jurisdiction have to be very throughout and behave in an ethical way towards its players. Ultimately this makes playing with an online casino that has an Isle of Man Gaming License a safe option.