Alderney Issues Online Casino Licenses

10 April 2002

Alderney made its highly anticipated move into the online casino business official today as the island nation's Gambling Control Commission announced the issuing of its first three interactive gaming licenses.

The trio of licensees are Littlewoods Leisure, WagerWorks and Ritz Interactive.

The licenses, granted under the terms of the Gambling (Interactive Gaming) (Alderney) Ordinance, 2001, will allow the three companies to operate virtual casinos based in Alderney.

The licenses, granted under the terms of the Gambling (Interactive Gaming) (Alderney) Ordinance, 2001, will allow the three companies to operate virtual casinos based in Alderney.

Alderney, part of the U.K. Channel Islands, will take a different route than the Isle of Man, which awarded licensees to hotel and casino operators MGM MIRAGE, Sun International and Rank among others.

John Postlethwaite, deputy chairman of the policy and finance committee for Alderney, said the three licensees were picked from a large group and that more licenses will be granted in the future.

"Demand was very good for the first offering," he said. "The process lasted nearly a year, and we hope that this will get us off in the right direction."

Littlewoods and WagerWorks have already established a presence in the Isle of Man, which began issuing virtual casino licenses late last year. WagerWorks is the supplier for MGM Mirage, one of the initial Isle of Man license holders. Sportech, Littlewoods' parent company, received a virtual casino license there as well.

Sportech hopes to use the Alderney license for more leverage in the industry. The company's managing director, Colin McGill, said Alderney will create more opportunities for his company.

"Our strategy is to develop new channels of distribution and deliver innovative products to our customers," McGill said. "In pursuing this strategy we anticipate that opportunities will present themselves for us to utilize both licenses going forward."

He also said Littlewoods will use its Isle of Man and Alderney licenses differently. He said his company is working with Isle of Man regulators to launch, which will be the company's branded online casino. The Alderney license will be used to secure sub-licensees for Littlewoods.

Kelly Moulton, chief executive officer of Ritz Interactive Ltd., said Ritz will take a similar approach to its Alderney license that Littlewoods took with its Isle of Man license.

"We very much look forward to working with the commission to launch an online casino under The Ritz Club brand," she said.

Paul Matthews, vice president of government affairs for WagerWorks, said Alderney appealed to his company because of its stability and technological infrastructure.

"We consider Alderney's compliance and technical standards to be among the best of the fully regulated interactive jurisdictions," he said.

Like Littlewoods, Matthews feels that Alderney will open up new opportunities for WagerWorks.

He added, "As one of the only technology and content suppliers to have secured interactive gambling licenses in two of the world's most highly regulated online gaming jurisdictions, WagerWorks continues its commitment to be the most compliant provider of online gaming solutions for established operators in fully regulated markets," he said.

Officials in Alderney feel the island's low tax rates, stable government and technology standards will appeal to the online gaming industry.

André Wilsenach, the commission's recently appointed CEO, said the licenses will create another regulated jurisdiction for operators to consider. He said all licensees will have to obtain approval from the commission of their gaming and control systems.

At least one of the three licenses, Ritz Interactive, said the leadership of Wilsenach was a major factor in its decision to seek a license in Alderney. Before assuming his position in Alderney, Wilsenach served on the South African Lotteries and Gambling Board and the National Gambling Board of South Africa. He was also a founding member of the Southern African Gambling Regulators Association.

Under Wilsenach's leadership, the States of Alderney decided at last month's States Meeting to remove the cap on the number of electronic gambling or interactive gaming licenses to be issued--a response to the growing number of inquiries and applications in Alderney.

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