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Anne Lindner
 

Q & A: Andre Wilsenach

6 June 2002

Andre Wilsenach is the CEO of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. He began working as a regulator in the jurisdiction in January, and already it is gaining a reputation as one of the strictest regulatory regimes to be found. Wilsenach is a former member of the South African Lotteries Gambling Board, and was the first chief executive of the provincial gambling board of Mpumalanga.

While the Alderney gaming control agency hasn't issued many Internet gambling licenses, those that it has awarded have been to big names within the industry. Sports betting firms Sportingbet and Surrey Sports have called the island home since 1998, and Littlewoods, Ritz Interactive and WagerWorks recently acquired online casino licenses.

Companies interested in gaining an I-gaming license from Alderney are put through a licensing procedure that can take up to two to three months and involve investigations into every facet of the applicant's business, from its employees' backgrounds to the type of wagering software it employs.

Wilsenach spoke with IGN recently about the regulatory process applicants can expect.

IGN: If an I-gaming company wants to get licensed in Alderney, what does it need to provide to you? What are the costs, and how long does the investigation typically take? What does the entire process entail?

Andre Wilsenach: It basically entails that a company submits an application for a license, which consists of an application form, corporate declaration and a key employee declaration. It is also expected of the applicant to pay a £10,000 deposit, against which we will draw in order to cover the investigation costs, and £250 non-refundable in the case of each key employee.

Using the information contained in the application forms as a basis, we conduct our investigations on the company and its key employees. Once that's done, a recommendation is made to the commission, which makes the determination of whether the applicant is suitable. Once the commission finds the company and its key employees suitable, it issues the applicant company and the key employees with an interactive gaming or electronic betting license. Once the license is issued, the company pays £75,000 for the license, which is payable annually. The license comes up for renewal every three years.

Once the company is licensed, a second phase follows, when the company submits its software and the details of its software provider in order for the software to be tested by an accredited testing house. The commission leaves it to the applicant to decide which testing house it prefers to use, on the condition that the testing house has been approved by the commission, in that it has the technical competency to do the job. . It needs to be someone that's obviously accredited to test gaming-related equipment. Simultaneously the commission would investigate the background of the software provider. Once that's done will the licensee be able to launch.

IGN: Is there a master or sub-license structure in Alderney?

AW: There are mainly only two types of licenses, namely for interactive gaming and electronic betting, and that's it. The holder of such a license is regarded as a licensee. There are no sub-licensees. As indicated before, the commission reserves the right to also investigate the associates of a licensee. Software providers are seen as quite important in that context. In addition to the said two licenses, the commission also issues licenses for the key employees or key personnel of a licensed company. That would typically be the directors of the company, the CEO of the company, the financial director of the company, and key management in the company.

IGN:What is the purpose of licensing the company's key staff?

AW: Always the most important part of a company's suitability is the people that run that company and operate the software and manage the project. And it is critical that we are comfortable with the background of those people. Obviously if someone has got a criminal record or the person is known for financial crimes or serious economic crimes, you don't want to put an operation of that nature in the hands of such a person. Furthermore, it is important to understand where the money that is used to fund the project comes from and who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the project.

In the event that a person would not be found suitable to hold a key employee license, the person will have to be excluded from the operation and management of the licensed company, assuming that it is still possible to license the company without licensing the person. So all people that are key to that operation should be licensed. If they are not, they cannot play a role in the decision-making and the management of that company.

Q & A: Andre Wilsenach is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner