Our very own Angelia Ong managed to have a few minutes with Tim Craine, the Head of iGaming and New Sectors for the Isle of Man government, to talk about a myriad of topics relating to the business of iGaming, particularly the appeal of the Isle of Man to licensees, the threats of new jurisdictions and how to retain these licensees in the face of these growing markets, and even advice for new jurisdictions thinking of introducing their own online gaming regulatory body.
When asked the question regarding the important elements that attracts licensees to the Isle of Man’s jurisdiction, Craine went straight to the point. “It’s the fact that we already have a very credible cluster of Asian-based companies on the island so the model is proven,” Craine said. “It’s easy for [prospective licensees] to see the success of the companies that are already there.”
Craine also noted that having stability with the government plays an important role in ensuring that these businesses are well taken cared and is committed to delivering a strong regulatory environment that’s supported by a wide range of attractive business benefits, including proper infrastructure, great support service, and the low rates of duty and business tax.
It’s no secret that the Isle of Man is an appealing place for an iGaming company to locate its business there, but now that new jurisdictions are sprouting all over the world, there’s a real, albeit small sense of concern on how the Isle of Man can retain and/or attract more licensees.
But Tim Craine is not the type to worry about such things, particularly because he understands that the Isle of Man is still a dynamic market that continues to reinvent itself and changes products to meet industry needs. “I’m confident that we’ll meet all any of those challenges and we’ll remain attractive and we’ll overcome any challenge that comes our way,” he said.
Craine also believes that the Isle of Man is still the best jurisdiction that offers the best regulatory regime for online gaming licensees. “Obviously, we’re in a marketplace competing with the likes of Malta and Gibraltar, but we feel that we are the best.” He points to the strong number of Asian gaming companies – companies that include, among others, Ho Gaming, Mahjong Logic Limited, and Premier Gateway International Ltd. – in the Isle of Man that bolsters its stature as one of the premier jurisdictions in the world. “I’m not just saying that,” Craine explains. “But if you look at the companies we have, it speaks for itself.”
From there, Angelia broached the question on whether the industry will see international cross-border recognition of gaming licensees in the future. Craine stopped short of answering that question; instead, he pointed out that every jurisdiction is now looking for operators to get a license in their respective locales, allowing them to get a share of the financial benefits through taxes, particularly in the current economic climate.
Ultimately, Craine believes that the best way forward for the industry is through expanded regulation of various other markets in the world that are looking to tap into the enormous potential of the iGaming business in their regions. “You’re far better off addressing the business in a regulated way (as opposed to prohibiting it entirely), bringing in proper regulation that allows players to play but also has a degree of supervision of that model,” he said.
Any conversation with somebody who has the kind of background like Craine has in the industry will inevitably lead to people seeking advice on how a new jurisdiction can proceed in introducing a new online gaming regulatory regime, to which Craine has a simple message.
“Talk to the industry. “Find out what the industry needs and find a way to respond