Isle of man unveils gambling bill

Interest in the Isle of Man as an online gambling jurisdiction has resulted in the Treasury launching the Gambling Supervision Bill 2008, which is primarily intended to provide for the Gambling Supervision Commission to become a statutory board. It also expands on the constitution, status and the exercise of functions of the commission, but does not look to alter the existing regulatory objectives, reports Isle of Man Today.

The Commission will monitor and regulate in terms of previously framed legislation.

In addition, the Treasury has taken the opportunity to address a number of minor issues that have arisen from application of the existing legislative framework.

Sponsorship of the Gambling Supervision Commission was transferred from the Department of Home Affairs to the Treasury in 2007 and this new bill intends to place the commission on a similar standing to the other regulatory bodies aligned to the department.

The objectives of the GSC are:

* ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way;
* protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling;
* preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime; and
* supporting the Island's economy and its development as an international finance sector.

The bill proposed that the Commission shall consist of not less than 5 persons appointed by the Treasury, subject to the approval of Tynwald (Parliament) The Treasury shall appoint one member of the Commission to be chairperson and another to be deputy chairperson of the Commission.

A person may not be appointed or be a member of the Commission if he or she is —

* a member of the Council or the Keys;
* a member of the Isle of Man Civil Service; or
* an employee of a Department or Statutory Board.

The Treasury shall ensure that —

* at least one member of the Commission is an advocate, barrister or solicitor of at least 5 years' standing;
* at least one member of the Commission is a person with experience of online business; and
* at least one member of the Commission is a person with experience of gambling business.

The documents can be accessed via the following direct link: http://www.gov.im/lib/docs/treasury//consultationgamblingsupervsionb.doc

IOM Today earlier reported that over 100 island jobs could be created in the local e-gaming industry following the granting of licenses allowing Fastbet and NYX Interactive to operate on the island (see previous InfoPowa report).

Fasbet is expected to create 10 to 15 jobs in the next 12 months, and Swedish company NYX Interactive will recruit up to 30 people over two years in business management, marketing, sales and technical departments. It is hoped that NYX Interactive will employ 100 people within five years.

Garth Kimber, head of e-gaming development at the Department of Trade and Industry, said: "These two companies are actually the sort of companies we are looking to bring here and will significantly increase the size of the industry with jobs and the money going through the banking system. We have worked to ensure that the regulatory environment is compatible for a variety of e-gaming platforms, from online payment services, to software and web design companies to sports betting service providers and the licensing of Fasbet and NYX Interactive is testimony to just how far we have come in this respect over the last year."

There are 13 Isle of Man licence holders at the moment. A further three companies have been approved but haven't taken up their licences yet. Six applications are being considered by the Gambling Commission.

Jonas Blomqvist, chief operating officer at NYX Interactive, said: "The Island has very clear and specific policies to encourage e-commerce businesses to relocate and the regulatory environment and technological capabilities of the Island allow us to deliver a new modern network gaming model."

Fasbet betting exchange director Ian Gilfillan said: "The infrastructure in the Island meets all of our current business needs and strategies and the regulatory structure permits Fasbet to operate to its full potential."

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