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Isle of Man Welcomes US Play

6 January 2005

A policy change in the Isle of Man enables online gambling operators based there to accept bets from U.S. customers. The change has been approved by the Council of Ministers and jointly issued by the Isle's Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry.

The new rules repeal a policy dated back to a time period over 18 months ago when the big six casino operators on the Isle held businesses in the United States and required such a policy to avoid conflict with U.S. authorities.

But those six operators are long gone, and the old policy has done little more than serve as a deterrent to online operators considering the Isle of Man as licensing jurisdiction.

Led by e-Gaming Ambassador John Gilmore, the Isle has been pursuing a constant regulatory evolution for the past several months with the hopes of reclaiming its position as a top jurisdiction. Recent changes include permitting poker and progressive jackpots, removing a £2 million bond requirement, removing a pre-certification for all software changes, and embarking on a plan that will completely abolish corporate tax by 2006. Permitting U.S. bets may be the last big hurdle the jurisdiction needs to clear.

Last month the Department of Trade and Industry submitted a report to the Council of Ministers requesting that they consider changing the Isle's policy toward U.S. bets. The report analyzed the potential risks and opportunities that could result from the policy change, and many local and international parties consulted in its drafting. After reviewing the report, the ministers agreed that the change was necessary to ensure that the Isle remained a competitive jurisdiction.

The hope now is that permitting U.S. bets, combined with the low tax structure and advanced telecommunications infrastructure, will be sufficient to lure new operators.

"It is going to be interesting for operators because of the stability of our infrastructure," Gilmore explained, " and it is probably going to be very interesting for the larger companies like the poker providers who need our unused bandwidth. That is one of the big selling points."

Gilmore said that at least two major operators are seriously considering the Isle of Man as a final destination, especially now that they can tap the U.S. market. Gilmore is not at liberty to name the companies until they formally apply for a license, but local newspaper Isle of Man Today reports that two of the companies are Casino on Net and Party Poker, both of which are located in Gibraltar.

The timing of the policy shift is crucial, considering that the United Kingdom is working on a bill that could welcome operators to its shores. Said Gilmore, "We're just hopeful this will open the door to a fair amount of business to the island, and what we're obviously trying to do is steal a march on the U.K. I've said it before and I'll say it again because I've been proven right already: They will mess up their own bill. They have done that, and they continue to do so. They try to please too many people and fall between all those stools. We're ever hopeful that this goes on ad infinitum. It gives us at least 18 months or possibly two years before they get their act together."

Although casino operators have been non-existent on the Isle for some time now, sports books like Paddy Power and Chronicle, as well as other service providers like NETeller, Debit Direct and KYCOS Holdings, were not adversely affected by the previous policy of restricting U.S. bets, so they migrated to the Isle. The jurisdiction's sports books are still not permitted to accept bets from the United States because sports wagering is thought to explicitly violate the U.S. federal Wire Act.

Isle of Man Welcomes US Play is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com