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Isle of Man: Law of Offshore

Betting and Gaming Law

During 2001 the Department of Home Affairs progressed first the primary and then the secondary legislation to legalise the operation, from the Isle of Man, of well regulated on-line gambling sites. The primary legislation, the On-line Gambling Regulation Act, came into force in May. Four sets of Regulations were approved by Tynwald in June. The first three licenses under the regulations were issued in September.

The application fee was set at GBP1,000 and the licence fee at GBP80,000 per annum; in addition licence holders were required to deposit GBP2m as a guarantee for the payment of customers and to establish a formal reserve for gaming based on a stated formula. These terms were somewhat softened in 2003. The current (2013) application fee is GBP5,000 and the annual license fee is GBP35,000.

In January, 2005, the Isle of Man reversed its four-year-old policy prohibiting e-gaming firms based in the jurisdiction from accepting online casino bets made by US residents.

The US authorities have sought to maintain domestic restrictions on gambling by banning US residents from placing bets with e-gaming firms whose servers are located in foreign jurisdictions, as illustrated by its legal fight with Antigua & Barbuda which has contested that ban through the WTO.

Tim Craine, the Isle of Man's head of electronic business, said: "There's a lot of business looking to relocate to a reputable, regulated jurisdiction," adding: "We're hoping to capitalize on that business."

However, Mr Craine pointed out in the report that the new policy applies only to online casino and poker games, and the ban on accepting sports bets from US residents remains in place.

John Gilmore, eGaming ambassador to the Isle of Man's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said that the decision was motivated by the government's desire not to contravene any US federal laws. "We will not extend the policy to sports betting, because the Wire Act prohibits sports betting across states in the US," Gilmore explained. "But as there is no federal law against poker or casinos we will accept those types of bets from US citizens," he added.



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