Recent events in the United States have cast a menacing shadow over the Internet gambling industry's viability, but Bill Mummery, head of e-gaming development for the Department of Trade and Industry on the Isle of Man, believes jurisdictions with strong regulatory systems, good reputations and desirable tax benefits will come out ahead when all is said and done.
Mummery, who in January announced significant changes to the island's I-gaming regulatory regime, spoke to IGN this week about the outlook for the industry.
IGN: What do you think makes the Isle of Man stand out as an attractive I-gaming jurisdiction, as opposed to geographically close competitors such as Gibraltar, Alderney and Malta?
Bill Mummery: All four are quality jurisdictions, and the KPIs within the individual business model will determine the choice of jurisdiction. However, the Isle of Man offers a zero percent tax regime with nil capital gains tax, a world-class telecommunications infrastructure and access to the London Capital Markets. Companies such as Neteller, Playtech and Fairground have listed on the London AIM market from the Isle of Man.
IGN: In 2005, the Isle of Man Council of Ministers agreed to drop restrictions on accepting bets from the United States. In light of recent events (federal legislation, the arrest and indictment of David Carruthers and the indictment of BetonSports), have IOM regulators changed their point of view?
BM: The Isle of Man places the responsibility for these decisions on the licensed operator. Government does not prescribe either positively or negatively which jurisdictions an operator takes play from. We would expect the operator to take account of all relevant factors in arriving at such decisions and behave responsibly
IGN: Have you received increased interest in the jurisdiction from operators since the Carruthers bust?
BM: Clearly recent events have caused the industry to revisit their risk analysis, and this includes the jurisdiction in which they are licensed and operating. With this background, the Isle of Man has seen an increase both in volume and geographical spread of enquiries in recent months, and I would expect this trend to continue
IGN: If you had the opportunity to introduce I-gaming legislation in the United States, what would be your approach?
BM: I would not be so presumptuous as to prescribe a "solution" to theses complex issues but it is I believe it fair to say that, over time, any solution will come from a move towards a "tax and regulate" regime.
is the senior staff writer at IGamingNews. She lives in St. Louis, Mo.