The island of Isle of Man, a British Crown Dependency located in the Irish Sea, between Ireland and Britain has a good track record in the online gaming industry, having been one of the first jurisdictions in the world to start offering online gaming licenses as early as in 1962. The Isle of Man is not governed by British laws despite being a British Crown Dependency, but instead has its own laws and regulations and is today considered to be a top tier option for online gaming regulation, despite a comparatively strict regulator, due to the excellent reputation of the jurisdiction both among the public (players) and industry professionals.
Anyone looking to regulate their gaming business in a reputable jurisdiction in Europe would therefore do well to consider Isle of Man and their gaming licenses, and as a result some of the most reputable online gaming sites are licensed there.
About the license
The regulator in the Isle of Man is called the Gambling Supervision Commission of the Isle of Man and is known for its commitment to player protection. That means that their standards on operators are high and their vetting process thorough, but also that full assistance is provided to licensees after they have obtained their Isle of Man gaming license, in order to make it easier for them to conduct all business according to the authority’s regulations.
The license is very straightforward and covers all types of gambling (from P2P games like poker and bingo, to casino games such as slots, live dealer games, sportsbook, esport betting, fantasy sports, lotteries, mobile games, desktop games and so on).
Furthermore, the license is granted for 5 years at a time, with the right to be revoked by the Gambling Supervision Commission at any time if the terms are violated in any way.
Depending on the clients’ needs, business models and objectives, the license type can be divided into the following:
- A full license, also known as a main OGRA License
Which is actually the standard license, so to speak. Facilitates B2C operations and registering the company’s own players, as well as store the data of those players. White Label Solution offerings to other operators is also possible, as is other partnerships with other operators, such as software or game offerings.
- A sub-license
A license suitable for operators who have a database of players but no gambling products of their own as of yet. They are granted a reduced fee and are tied to a full license holder (see above) in order to get access to software, games etc. A sub-licensee can apply to become a full licensee at any time.
- Network services license
Will give the licensee the same rights and obligations as the first mentioned full license, with the difference that network services licensees can also accept players that are registered with gaming sites in other jurisdictions, which enables them to skip the re-registration process, allowing swift migration of player data from a source server to an Isle of Man based server. Makes reaching new target markets easier for the licensee.
- B2B software supplier license
Which can in turn be divided into 2 distinctive licenses: a standard fiat platform license and another one, which is intended for blockchain-based software providers, being offered since 2019 as a part of the regulators focus and innovation in the blockchain sphere.
All products of a license holder must be tested in order to demonstrate high standards of quality.
Why choose an Isle of Man gaming license over other available gaming licenses?
There are many benefits to an Isle of Man gaming license, besides the stellar reputation that comes along with this choice. Some of the most important benefits are:
- That the jurisdiction is suitable for both start-ups and large corporations (and of course anything in between), enabling operators both to start small but also leaving room for growth.
- Political and financial stability.
- The excellent infrastructure in the Isle of Man, from telecommunications, to IT, hosting and internet speed, it’s highly trained and industry specialized workforce that are also native English speakers and so on.
- Availability of excellent payments and banking options (especially if you opt to register for these through ClearSky Network, as we have access to unique options that many others are not aware of), company administration services, marketing services and other professional services an operator might be in need of.
- An extremely competitive tax policy, with a low gaming tax (ranging from 0.1% to 1.5% on Gross Gaming Yield), and no capital gains tax. The income tax for incomes below £ 20 million per year is 1.5%, the income tax for incomes between £ 20-40 million per year is 0.5% and the income tax for an income above £ 40 million a year is 0.1%.
- The Isle of Man is a World Trade Organisation member state, as well as whitelisted by both the OECD and the UK Gambling Commission, allowing licensees – among other things – to advertise the services they provide in the UK.
- The Commission in charge of licenses has clearly stated that the Isle of Man strives to become the “Island of Enterprise and Opportunity”, meaning that further attractive developments are probably to follow in the jurisdiction.
- Especially suited for Asian facing gambling operators since the regulator has experience with these markets in particular.
- Additionally well suited for any operator also dabbling in, or planning to go into, blockchain related operations, as the regulator sees this industry very favorably and is planning related regulation for this industry as well (some regulations specific for blockchain and cryptocurrencies are already in place).
How to move forward if an Isle of Man gaming license is of interest to you
The experienced gaming regulation team at ClearSky Network can naturally assist you with the entire process, which is recommended as it can often streamline the process, as well as shorten it. All applicants are expected to demonstrate the transparency and credibility of all activities in question, so each person, as well as company, that is connected to the application will be vetted thoroughly, which includes detailed legal, as well as financial due diligence checks.
2 Isle of Man based directors are required, as is a Designated Official or Operations Manager, hosting on the Isle of Man, banking solutions in the jurisdiction and a segregated mechanism for player deposits and winnings.
Processing the application will take several weeks (often months), even if everything is properly done, the time frame is often significantly extended if there are errors in the application. (Another reason to work with a professional when it comes to this process)
Some of the documents you can expect to having to submit as an applicant include:
- A detailed business plan.
- Descriptions of all games that will be offered.
- Software description and testing documentation. (Tests much follow local regulations)
- Information about target markets.
- Information about Isle of Man based servers (a must).
- Proof of absence of a criminal record.
- ID copies.
- Bank references.
- Utility bills.
- 3 years Financial Projections.
What else ClearSky Network brings to the table
Besides consultancy services that first of all help you decide if an Isle of Man gaming license is right for you or not, and second of all help you compare an Isle of Man gaming license to other available and possibly suitable licenses, ClearSky Network also offers complete package solutions for obtaining a license in the Isle of Man.
These package solutions will include all the steps required for obtaining the license, as well as opening the correct corporate structure in the Isle of Man, the needed bank accounts and payment solutions as well as introductory services to any other partners the operator in question might be in need of.
ClearSky Network also contributes in locating and liaising with attorneys in other intended primary target markets and then any subsequent markets that are intended to enter into. Through our extensive network, we can make relevant introductions and provide further information on this throughout the licensing process.