If you ask us to make a list of the most reputable regulatory agencies in the gambling industry, the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) most certainly will be at its top. Helmed by CEO Steve Brennan, the GSC is headquartered in Douglas, Isle of Man. Back in 1962, when the Commission was established, it engaged in licensing and regulating brick-and-mortar gambling operators, including casinos, slot machine halls, sports betting offices, lotteries, bingo halls, and so on.
However, as gambling transitioned online at a fascinating speed, the Commission started to monitor and regulate online gambling operators as well. In the early 2000s, the Isle of Man Government was among the first to pass legislation that encouraged the growth and development of e-gambling. Over the years, the local authorities have done a tremendous amount of work creating a robust regulatory environment and providing all kinds of perks to gambling operators while protecting the rights and interests of gambling enthusiasts.
In 2001, the Gaming Supervision Commission introduced the Online Gambling Regulation Act (OGRA) that applies to all gambling services provided online, from lotteries, to betting, to games of chance. Recognized for its high regulatory standards and unshakeable integrity, the GSC takes good care of both its licensees and players.
As the e-gaming industry continues to march forward, the Gambling Supervision Commission is committed to keep pace with it by introducing state-of-the-art technologies, such as blockchain and AI. It’s safe to say that the Isle of Man boasts one of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking gambling jurisdictions, which makes a GCS license a prestigious accomplishment for any gambling operator.
The fundamental goals of the Isle of Man Gambling Commission are the following:
- detect and prevent gambling-related crimes and keep the gambling scene safe;
- ensure that online casinos and other gambling operators provide high-quality services, play by the rules, offer fair games, and pay out winnings without delays;
- keep underage users away from gambling;
- help people fight gambling addiction.
A gambling license as attractive as that of the Isle of Man is not easy to obtain. To qualify for a GSC license, a gambling operator must provide an endless of list of documents:
- elaborate business plan;
- target market;
- description of games;
- certificate issued by an independent auditing company that confirms the use of fair RNG algorithms;
- bank statements;
- and other documents.
The Commission will take up to 3-4 months to consider the application request. It needs to be noted that a GSCF license comes with a heavy price tag. On a brighter side, if a casino is granted a license, it gets access to a whole bunch of benefits, such as gambling jurisdiction with an impeccable reputation, supportive environment, and financial perks. Let’s focus on the last advantage in more detail.
A big part of what makes the Isle of Man a coveted gambling jurisdiction is its tax policy. Casinos and other gaming operators which are registered in the Isle of Man are subject to 0% corporate tax. As for the gaming tax, it ranges between 0.1% and 1.5% of the gross gaming yield. In other words, the Isle of Man is nothing short of a fiscal paradise for gambling businesses!
The Gambling Supervision Commission is widely known for its concern for player safety, especially when it comes to players’ money. If a person gambles with a casino holding an Isle of Man license, they can rest assured that their deposits and winnings (as well as bonuses) are 100% secure. The Commission has approved four mechanisms for protecting player money:
- Bank guarantee. If a casino fails to pay money to its clients, the bank will pay it in place of the casino. All GSC licensees must prove that their bank guarantees cover the total sum of player funds.
- Trust fund. If the casino has no financial means to pay out money to players, this money can be taken from the trust. It’s important to emphasize that the casino cannot draw funds from the trust to cover other expenses, such as marketing costs, rent, etc.
- Client account. A client account is an account that a casino opens with a bank. Under the law, the money in the Client account belongs not to the casino, but to its players. If the casino has difficulties paying out money to players (and the Commission confirms that it is actually so), the bank will assume the liability and pay the money to players.
- Insurance. In certain situations, a casino may get money from insurance to pay it to players. The insurance sum must be no less than the total amount of funds that the casino owes to players.
The Isle of Man Commission makes regular checks to make sure that the sum of funds held in bank guarantee, trust fund or client account covers the total value of player deposits. Before the casino decides to use any of the above mechanisms, it must get approval from the Commission.
How the Isle of Man Commission handles complaints
If a dispute or disagreement arises between the player and the gambling operator, the Gaming Supervision Commission acts as an intermediary. However, if a player is unhappy with how a casino is treating them, they first need to file a complaint with the casino itself. If the casino fails to review the complaint in due manner or the player is dissatisfied with the response, the player has the right to appeal to the Commission. Besides providing personal information about themselves, the player must describe the subject of the complaint and provide the correspondence between themselves and the casino. The Commission will act on the player’s behalf and start an investigation, contacting the licensee’s office and demanding their feedback.
At the same time, it doesn’t mean that casino enthusiasts can contact the Gambling Supervision Commission with just any money issues. If you lost a certain amount of money playing gambling games, the Commission can’t force the casino to pay the money back to you. After all, you placed the bets willingly, fully aware of the fact that you might lose.
Verifying whether or not an online casino you’re about to sign up with holds a GSC license is a walk in the park. Go to the website www.gov.im, choose the “Gambling and e-gaming” section, and click the “License holders'' link. You’ll find a list of online gambling operators that hold a GSC license, with the type of license (Full, Network Services, Software Supply) and URL address provided for each licensee.
On top of that, you can take a look at the Approved Software Register. The Register contains a list of gambling software developers that hold a GSC license and are considered safe and trustworthy. Some of such software companies include Nolimit City Services Limited, Skyline Solutions Inc, Yggdrasil Gaming, Green Rock Limited, Babylon Gaming Limited and others.