Exclusive interview with Mark Robson, Head of e-gaming, Isle of Man Department of Economic Development

“The regulatory landscape of online gambling is maturing”

To further bolster the Isle of Man’s e-gaming proposition, the Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) has recently announced various changes to its licensing conditions.

Isle of Man 
| 15/02/2017

ICE Totally Gaming attracted thousands of visitors and hundreds of exhibitors from across the world. Major industry players discussed the current state of gambling and shared their predictions for 2017. Commenting on the obstacles facig the e-gaming sector, Robson told Yogonet the “challenges are being overcome through a joined-up approach and dialogue between the regulators to share and learn from collective best practice.”

How did ICE Totally Gaming 2017 pan out?

We are always excited to represent the Isle of Man at ICE as it offers an excellent opportunity to showcase our e-gaming proposition, create business leads and nurture relationships with the industry.

Following the conclusion of the event, we look at some of the interesting themes which continue to arise in industry discussions and conversations in meetings.

What would you say is the biggest obstacle facing the e-gaming industry?

A factor which proved to be a challenge to the growth of the global e-gaming industry is inconsistent legislation. This has forced international operators to select their target markets based on administrative procedures and not purely economic considerations. However, having undergone a period of seismic change, the regulatory landscape of online gambling is maturing. Regulators are working more closely together than in past years.

Whilst there are still challenges facing jurisdictions as well as operators, the regulators are bolstering their understanding and formulating measures in areas such as sports betting integrity, gambling addiction and player fund protection. Therefore, challenges are being overcome through a joined-up approach and dialogue between the regulators to share and learn from collective best practice. We expect this trend to continue, with the Isle of Man leading the way in developing co-operation between different jurisdictions.

What are the emerging markets and where are the next opportunities?

The Asian, South American and African markets have grown at an unprecedented pace over the last few years. In fact, Asia-Pacific is reported to be the fastest growing gaming market in the world. The rise of these markets continues to be one of the most interesting trends. This is driven by the new generation of the middle classes; easy access to mobile and tablet applications; improving broadband internet connectivity; and a cultural history of gambling.

Operators targeting these emerging markets are looking for jurisdictions which are dynamic and reputable, and strike a balance between keeping crime out and supporting high quality businesses. They also want a jurisdiction base with a robust telecoms infrastructure and strong data security capabilities. The Isle of Man benefits by offering just that. We continue to be well placed to make the most of opportunities coming from these interesting markets.

Challenges remain as the emerging markets are very fragmented and are still developing. However, these can be overcome as the e-gaming industry continues to establish a strong foothold in these regions.

What do you forecast for the year ahead?

E-gaming continues to enjoy unprecedented popularity and no one can doubt that it has evolved in line with the regulatory and technological innovation landscape. Of course, nothing stays unchanged for long and the coming months will certainly bring new challenges and opportunities which will be key themes in panel discussions and industry debates. As always, it is imperative for jurisdictions to be ahead of the curve in terms of embracing and nurturing trends, and maintaining an untarnished reputation.

To further bolster the Isle of Man’s e-gaming proposition, our Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) has recently announced various changes to its licensing conditions. The changes include: the removal of charges for network partners; a simplified test certificate procedure; recognition of payments by digital currencies and virtual items (for example, eSports skins); and a broadening of the services licence holders can offer to sub-licensees. The updates in our licensing regime will ensure the Island continues to lead the way as a jurisdiction that reflects the advancements in technology as well as the needs of industry.

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