The Isle of Man has been a magnet for the eGaming sector creating a thriving hub of influential operators and support services.
The number of licence holders has been steadily increasing and ILS World's eGaming and Digital team is proud of its record in assisting with applications. The process involves gathering detailed information and documentation relating to the proposed business strategy, its management, operating structure, key service agreements, banking arrangements, player funds protection and anti-money laundering procedures.
All Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission's licences operate under the same piece of legislation, the Online Gambling Regulation Act 2001. All licences cover all gaming verticals. An application costs £5,000 and is normally processed in 8-12 weeks if there are no unexpected issues. Cryptocurrency and digital assets are viable as stakes, deposits, withdrawals across all licences.
There are four main types of licence and all are suitable for operators looking to offer products in both fiat and cryptocurrencies.
Full licence - £35,000 pa
The full gambling licence covers all gaming options including sportsbook, poker, fantasy sports, casino, bingo and lotteries. Full licence holders register their own players, keep their player data and are responsible for anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) requirements relating to them. Full licence holders can allow other businesses to either sub-licence or white label under them.
Sub Licence - £5,000 pa
Those with a sub licence must enter into an agreement with a full licence holder in order to operate, and they can only offer games they have either produced in-house and/or games the full licensee has the rights to offer. White labels can be offered, and sub-licensees keep their player data – although they are responsible for their AML and KYC compliance as though they were a full licence holder.
Network Services Licence - £50,000 pa
A network licence encompasses everything offered under the full licence and permits the holder to allow other operators located and licensed elsewhere to send their players to the licence holder's servers in the Isle of Man, with no requirement for the licence holder to re-register them, allowing for the pooling of players and jackpots.
B2B Software Supplier Licence
This licence is elective rather than mandatory, however many software businesses choose to become licensed in order to demonstrate adherence to top-tier Isle of Man standards, thus giving reassurance to B2B partners such as operators, banks, payment processors, investors, shareholders and others.
A software supplier holding a licence can have their products listed as approved on the GSC's website and any Isle of Man B2C operator can use these games on their site without needing to acquire RNG testing certificates, as the GSC will have already received these from the software supplier.
As well as software developers this licence can also be applicable to other service providers in the gaming industry such as affiliates and live dealer studios. There are two types of software supplier licence:
Standard fiat platforms/software - £35,000 pa
Token/blockchain enabled platforms/ software - £50,000 pa
For blockchain enabled platforms, applicants must meet further conditions not applied to fiat platform applications which include:
- Applicants must prove their understanding of their technology
- Tokens must be available and not in development
- A news blackout will be enforced throughout the application process in order to prevent attempts to inflate the value of tokens.
As white labels are treated as non-licensable, there are no licence fees or gaming duty due. Also, as no player data is held, there are no AML or KYC responsibilities to consider. A white label solution allows clients to engage an established licenced operator to manage the day-to-day operations of the product, enabling the client the opportunity to concentrate resources on the marketing and brand awareness of the product, creating a player database and maximising revenues.
How ILS World can help
ILS World's eGaming and Digital team has a real passion for the industry - we have a "can-do" attitude and take new legislation and previously unseen business models in our stride.
We have both start-ups and established gaming clients, many of which are household names - we have and continue to work in many different sectors including sportsbook, casino, bingo and poker. Our knowledge in the sector is not restricted to online concerns and we assist several land-based operators and associated businesses such as casinos, banks, payment processing and marketing advisers.
We also enjoy collaborating with those who are keen to develop and integrate new technologies into their business and we are very experienced at working with blockchain and cryptocurrency betting operators. Latterly we have partnered with eSports businesses embracing the use of digital currency and tokens within their models as well as working with a cryptocurrency custodian utilising cutting edge, self-developed technology to provide much needed security for clients holding cryptocurrency.
eGaming is a global high-speed industry and ILS World has developed specialist knowledge and skills to keep pace with the sector. We have GSC approved directors, and we are adept at dealing with new opportunities and gaining approval for appropriate licences in the Isle of Man and elsewhere.
ILS World enjoys a strong working relationship with the GSC and the Department of Enterprise which helps facilitate and support the application process.
Our team consists of dedicated project managers, accountants, highly trained compliance officers, industry consultants and administrators.
Together, we have nurtured mutually beneficial relationships with our clients, suppliers and associates, all whilst working in partnership with governments and regulatory authorities. We extend our network of industry associates to all our clients, developing the international infrastructure necessary to launch and maintain a leading eGaming business.
Our service includes:
• Unbiased and objective multi-jurisdictional licensing consultancy across all major offshore and onshore gaming jurisdictions
• Guidance with compiling an appropriate business plan
• Assistance on licence application and associated due diligence requirements
• Liaison with the relevant gaming regulator
• Guidance on regulatory compliance
• Integration of cryptocurrencies and tokens as payment methods if required
• Assistance with the development of anti-money laundering policies and procedures and the creation and maintenance of statutory registers
• Registration with Customs & Excise and on-going preparation and submission of Gambling Duty Returns
• VAT registration, if required
• Registration under the Data Protection Act
• Liaison with payment solution providers, banks, computer hosting facilities, software suppliers, auditors, lawyers and other professionals, as required
• Establishing bank accounts
• International company incorporation
• Provision of company directors and secretary
• Book keeping and preparation of financial statements
• On-going company administration and secretarial work
• Post-licensing supervisory visits.
Please note: ILS World does not offer tax advice and would therefore recommend you obtain your own tax advice. If you require an introduction to a tax adviser we would be happy to assist.