Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is a self-governing jurisdiction that is also a crown possession of Great Britain. Located on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, the country is recognised as one of the traditional and prestigious jurisdictions for gambling licences.

The government has a positive attitude towards the development of gambling. Moreover, a gambling licence obtained on the Isle of Man will help create a positive company image, and customers will perceive your online casino as a reliable gambling establishment.

6 simple steps to purchase a company

  1. choosing a country

  2. choosing a bank

  3. payment (by any method)

  4. sending documents

  5. company registration

  6. bank account opening

Advantages of a jurisdiction for registering a gambling business:

From all the possible types of advantages that open up to the founders when incorporating a company, it is definitely worth noting:

  1. Prestige, stability of the jurisdiction.
  2. Acceptable taxes. 0% income tax (if the company is established by a non-resident and operates outside the Isle of Man and the UK). A low gross income tax of 1.5%.
  3. No VAT.
  4. A liberal and clear legislative framework. The scope of English law.
  5. The loyalty and disposition of the government to the licensees.
  6. A single licence format for all possible types of games.
  7. The shortest timeframe for setting up a gambling business compared to other jurisdictions.
  8. The possibility of sublicensing on the island nation: your online casino can operate on behalf of a well-known brand with an additional option, or you have the right to conduct business independently.
  9. A wide range of types of gambling, including sports betting, stockbroking, casinos, lotteries, unusual games, internet services, some types of financial trading, etc.

Types of gambling licence

A peculiarity of the Isle of Man is that its gambling laws do not divide gambling licences by type of gambling, as is common in other countries. For example, some jurisdictions require a separate filing package for slot machines, lotteries and poker. A licence issued on the Isle of Man combines all games and even involves betting activities. You just need to prepare one large file. However, at the same time you should be aware that gambling licences are divided into:

  1. a main licence;
  2. a sublicence;
  3. a network service licence.

A full (first) licence is issued to companies that develop their own gambling business (purchase software, carry out promotional activities, etc.). The licence holder can use the licence and make money from all available games themselves, as well as sell sublicences to other entrepreneurs wishing to enter the gambling market in Europe under the name of an operating company. Of course, receiving additional income for this.

A sublicence is a document that allows an online casino to legally operate, but on behalf of another, larger company. Obtaining a sublicence is very convenient for those who are new to the gambling business. The sublicence holder, once he or she feels the need, can obtain a full licence and work independently.

Network licence – this licence allows the holder of the basic licence to work with other operators on a contractual basis. Offering users from other jurisdictions to gamble from its online platform.

Online Casino Licence: conditions for obtaining

In order to obtain a gambling licence, it is not enough to open an online casino. A number of prerequisites must be met:

  1. Register a company on the Isle of Man. The purpose of its creation is to organise a gambling business.
  2. There should be at least two directors in the structure of such a company. Individuals are required.
  3. The registered office and the place of business of such a company must also be on the Isle of Man.
  4. For a company registered on the Isle of Man, open a corporate account with a bank in the same jurisdiction. The account must contain the entire amount of the share capital, in the amount specified in the articles of association.
  5. Game services must also be within the jurisdiction.
  6. A detailed business plan needs to be created.
  7. Players should be made aware of the jurisdiction's rules and for this purpose the rules should be published on the website in several world languages. Failure to do so could be seen as an attempt to conceal data and information about the gambling company's activities.

In order to obtain a licence, the company must meet these requirements:

  1. According to OGRA:
    1. ensuring the development of the gambling sector in a state of decriminalisation;
    2. protecting the vulnerable;
    3. guaranteeing honest work and payment to players in full.
  2. Other requirements:
    1. the establishment of a local company under the Act 2006 or the Act 1931;
    2. appointment of at least 2 directors — individuals, local;
    3. the choice of an authorised resident official based on the island, or an operational manager (local) if the former is unable to stay in the jurisdiction;
    4. registering players on the Isle of Man servers;
    5. placing gambling and trading accounts with banks in the jurisdiction;
    6. Having a business plan that includes information on financial accounts, ownership structure, rules of the game, internal controls, payment schemes, etc.

The following documents are sent to the authorised authorities:

  1. declarations for directors, shareholders, beneficiaries holding 5% or more of the company's shares with letters of recommendation from the auditor/lawyer;
  2. a business plan and projections of the financial forecasts, drawn up in accordance with the model approved by the Gambling Supervisory Commission (GSC);
  3. an inspection certificate of the gaming system by an approved testing centre on the Isle of Man;
  4. RNG certificate — if a random number generator is available.

It takes about 2 months to collect documents and create up a business plan. After submitting the documents, the GSC holds a meeting with the company's directors within three months. After another 1-2 weeks, the licence is issued. After that, the company has nine months to get started.

The cost of obtaining permits to operate an online casino on the Isle of Man is £1,000. A further £35,000 has to be paid annually for a full licence or £5,000 for a sublicence renewal.

Documentation required to obtain a gambling licence on the Isle of Man

The requirements for obtaining a gambling licence on the Isle of Man are quite simple. You should prepare:

  1. a written detailed description of the business model: main types of games provided, gambling rules, features of financial accounts, bank settlement schemes, appearance of the online casino website.
  2. Company structure, shareholding information.
  3. Copies of the founders' passports.
  4. Certificate of the actual place of residence (not older than 3 months).
  5. A criminal record certificate for the founders of the company.
  6. Bank statement of the accounts of the owners of the gambling company (not older than 3 months).
  7. Business plan and description of the proposed games.
  8. Confirmation of the RNG application and its validity (third-party certification);
  9. Data about the software used.
  10. Confirmation that the website is blocked to minors.

Documentation may be submitted electronically. A scanned copy will be sufficient to apply for a gambling licence.

Step-by-step process for obtaining a licence

There are five steps when applying for a gambling licence on the Isle of Man:

  1. Preparation of documents and application to the GSC inspectorate. The licence fee is also payable at this stage.
  2. Discuss the business plan and objectives of the potential gambling operator with the founders.
  3. Analysis of the technical base.
  4. Conducting a hearing regarding the new company's activities.
  5. Issuance of a licence and start of testing of the gaming platform.

The submitted application is reviewed in detail, especially with regards to the conditions for setting up a gambling company. The business model provided and the documents submitted are analysed.

The average processing time of an application for a gambling licence on the Isle of Man is approximately a couple of months. From the moment the licence is issued, the regulated testing of the online casino site must be carried out within 9 months.

How much does a gambling licence cost on the Isle of Man?

The price of a licence consists of several expenditure items:

  1. The basic fee is £35,000.
  2. The administration fee is £1,000.

Gross income tax should be taken into account: 0.1 for income of GBP 40 million or more; 0.5% for income between GBP 20 million and GBP 40 million; 1.5% up to GBP 20 million.

The cost of a sublicence depends on the price set by the main holder of the full gambling licence.

Taxation

The jurisdiction has a zero corporate tax rate. It applies to all company profits except:

  1. profits from property/land management activities on the Isle of Man;
  2. retail business in the jurisdiction;
  3. some banking activities.
  4. Profits from these areas are taxed at the rate of 10%.
  5. Companies engaged in gaming activities are exempt from VAT

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