Regulation and Legislation
The Isle of Man Government fully supports the growth of the online gambling sector on the Isle of Man and there is a team within the department of Trade and Industry (DTI) who are responsible for providing hands-on support to companies and individuals wanting to conduct online gambling business.
Not all gaming business activities require a license in the Isle of Man. Activities such as marketing, software, and skill games for example can be hosted or carried out without any need for an OGRA license. Indeed, companies can be registered and have head office facilities in the Isle of Man while licensing elsewhere.
The Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) is the body responsible for regulating those gaming operators who require a license in the Isle of Man. The online Gambling Regulation Act in 2001 is the primary legislation and can be found with all the secondary legislation at www.gov.im/gambling along with useful guidance notes on making an application.
It is advisable in any case to contact the DTI or GSC for further guidance on whether or not your business needs a license and how to complete the licensing process.
In the Isle of Man one license covers all activity from sportsbook, poker, casino, bingo, lotteries to running network gaming. The exception is where a sub-license can be issued for those operations that are exclusively tied to an Isle of Man based network.
Basic requirements for securing an online gambling license on the Isle of Man are as follows:
- The business is carried out by an Isle of Man incorporated company;
- The servers, where the bets are struck are hosted in the Isle of Man;
- Banking of both operational and player funds in carried in the Isle of Man;
- The business has a minimum of two company directors resident in the Isle of Man.
In most cases a local solicitor or a corporate service provider can facilitate the bank account, company formation and appropriate resident director and there are four data-hosting centers all of which can be contacted through the DTI.
Required Fees and Taxation
There is an initial non-refundable application fee of £1,000 for an OGRA license. Application forms can be found at www.gov.im/gambling/applicationforms.
Once the license is granted the license fee is payable to the Isle of Man Government. This is a £35,000 per annum for a full license or £5,000 per annum for a sub-license.
Gaming tax is payable by licensed online gambling business operator on gross gaming profit at the following rates:
- For gross gaming yield not exceeding £20 million per annum the rate is 1.5%.
- For gross gaming yield of more than £20 million per annum but not exceeding £40 million per annum the rate is 0.5%.
- For gross gaming yield of more than £40 million per annum the rate is 0.1%.
These rates apply equally to all operators and in respect of all bets, wagers, etc. wherever the player is located.
Time Scales of License Obtaining
A fill and complete application will usually be put before the GSC for consideration within 10 weeks of submission. Representatives of the company will be required to present the application in person. Following the hearing the GSC will advise the outcome in a written response.
License Application Preparation
Although a business can prepare a license application itself, it is often easier and quicker to employ the services of an experienced local solicitor or Corporate Service Provider (CSP). The DTI can provide a full list of professionals experienced in preparing igaming license applications and working with the gambling industry. In either case, it is useful to refer to the Guidance notes available on www.gov.im/gambling and make contact with the DTI who can assist you with establishing in the Isle of Man.