Europe is increasingly becoming a digital currency-friendly continent. If there is a Bitcoin-friendly territory index, then the Isle of Man will definitely feature at the top. True to its intention of becoming the Bitcoin capital, Isle of Man has recently decided to relax its gambling laws to include bitcoin and digital currencies.
The Gambling Supervision Commission has called for a limited consultation for a period of one month, starting April 20, 2016, till May 20, 2016, with an intention of revisiting the existing gambling regulations and updating it to meet today’s standards. The Gambling Regulations Package 2016, presented by Mark Rutherford of Gambling Supervision Commission has published a document in this regard with proposed changes to the online gambling rules and regulations.
According to the document, the Gambling Supervision Commission has shortlisted 6 changes that can be incorporated to Isle of Man’s existing gambling regulations. These proposed changes, according to the document includes –
- making changes to the regulations to allow the digital currency to be accepted just like cash
- expanding the list of services, a sub-licensee can derive from a full license holder.
- expansion of voluntary gambling controls that an operator can offer players.
- clarification of protection required for winnings that the Commission deems to be out of scope for protection
- ability to offset unused portions of license fees against new licenses.
These changes are shortlisted to make sure that the licensing regime for online gambling is simplified and doesn’t put an unnecessary burden on online gambling services providers. By recognizing digital currency on par with cash, cryptocurrency users can enjoy all the gambling services without any distinction between cash and digital currency.
Also, by making bitcoin and other digital currencies legally acceptable by all online gambling services operating out of the country, the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission is not only attracting domestic customers, but virtually anyone from across the globe with a working internet connection and digital currency to spare for gambling.
Until now, a full gambling license holder could only sub-license games to other providers minus the back office operations. If the proposed changes are adopted, then the licensee will be able to sub-license the back office operations concerned with the sub-licensed games along with a range of live betting and lotteries as well.
Also, the online gambling service providers will soon be able to customize their offerings to their customers by adding multiple control mechanisms suitable for the gambling behavior associated with different games instead of sticking to pre-defined controls as put forth by the earlier legislation.
The option to adjust excess unused license fee amount for upgrading or downgrading the license will offer a flexible option for online gambling services, where they do not end up paying unnecessarily for making changes to their license type while reapplying for or renewing the license.
The consultation paper by Isle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission proposes changes that are friendly to both online gambling services and digital currency users. However, the implementation of these changes will be decided, depending upon the responses received from the stakeholders by the end of the consultation period.
If all the proposed changes are adopted, then the Isle of Man may end up attracting more and more online gambling businesses across the world to register and obtain the license from the Isle of Man instead of other territories. The Isle of Man may soon be to online gambling what Cyprus is to forex and trading platforms.
Ref: Consultation Paper - GSC, Isle of Man