The online gambling industry has grown tremendously alongside the worldwide web. The global online gambling and betting market has increased from around USD830 million per year in 1998 and is projected to reach over USD100 billion in 2024.

Technological developments such as in-play betting, hand-held devices and Smartphone penetration have contributed hugely to growth in the industry over the past decade and this trend will continue as improved connectivity and accessibility enable more players to take part online from anywhere in the world. New growth areas currently being developed are the use of crypto currencies and virtual reality games.

This growth has also been facilitated by developments in licensing and regulation. It is essential for online gambling (eGaming) operators to be licensed and regulated in a reputable jurisdiction if they are to demonstrate legitimacy around the world.

In selecting a licensing jurisdiction, eGaming operators need to consider the following factors:

  • Set-up costs and maintenance.
  • Length of time to obtain a licence and the level of difficulty.
  • The reputation of the jurisdiction.
  • The quality of supervision.
  • The location of players.

The Isle of Man is a hub for eGaming and software provider businesses, serving multiple regions, and supported by an experienced regulator, with a robust and mature licensing regime. With a 0% standard rate of corporate income tax, it is also a highly tax efficient location in which to start an online gambling business.

As a Tier 1 regulatory jurisdiction, an Isle of Man licence is highly-prized by companies looking to establish or grow their business in the eGaming sector and offers an excellent platform to secure B2B partners, investment or financial services.

The island offers a robust power and telecoms infrastructure, delivering highly resilient bandwidth connectivity with higher average speeds than the UK. It also boasts six world-class data centres, each offering gaming specific expertise and served by six under-sea cables with direct links to Europe and the US.

It has also created a substantial ecosystems in the eGaming space that include software developers, platform providers, games designers and payment companies. Together with access to high quality professional and financial service providers, these ecosystems make it highly practical to operate from the Isle of Man because all the necessary participants are in close proximity.

Supervision of gambling in the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) is an independent statutory board of the Isle of Man Government. It is responsible for both the licensing and the regulating of all land-based gambling operations (casino, amusement and slot machines, betting offices and lotteries), as well as all online gambling activities.

The GSC is the regulator that supervises the gambling sectors’ compliance with Isle of Man gambling and Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation and regulations made under the Online Gambling Regulation Act 2001 (OGRA), associated guidance and licence conditions.

The GSC supervises compliance through a combination of self-assessments and on-site reviews. Desk-based reviews of self-assessments and any documents provided allow the GSC to assess an operator’s policy and process.

On-site activities include visits to operators’ premises, customer sampling and face-to-face meetings. On-site visits may be standalone visits or combined AML/CFT and General Compliance visits depending on the risk assessment of the operator, the time since the latest AML/CFT or General Compliance visit, the next scheduled visits, and the availability of the GSC’s Officers.

E-Gaming Licensing

If your business is performing activities such as registering players, offering the gamble and striking the bet using Isle of Man infrastructure it is required to be licensed under the Isle of Man Online Gambling Regulation Act 2001 (OGRA).

An OGRA Licence demonstrates that the holder is adhering to Isle of Man standards of corporate governance, especially international Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. This is invaluable for companies looking for B2B partnerships, investment and financial services.

Additionally, the Isle of Man’s exemplary record of player protection ensures that players feel confident their funds are safe with an Isle of Man-licensed online gambling business.

Not all gaming-related activities require an OGRA Licence. Marketing, free-play games with no prizes, administration of gaming companies, call centres, customer support, disaster recovery provisions and the design, sales, testing or maintenance of software do not require a licence.

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) offers one licence covering all gaming verticals, from casino and sports betting to poker, bingo and lottery. The type of licence will be determined by business activity, as follows:

Full Licence

The full licence permits holders to perform B2C activities such as offering the game, striking the bet and registering players, as well as B2B activities such as offering Sub-Licences and White Labels to other operators. One licence covers all gaming verticals, poker, bingo, sportsbook, slots, casino, mah-jong, esports, as well as new ideas and unique games.

Network Licence

The Network Licence provides the same privileges as the Full Licence but its also allows holders to accept players from global network partners on to their gameplay and back office servers without a separate registration. It therefore offers a highly effective mechanism for pooling liquidity, as well as operating networks and progressive jackpots.


The Sub-Licence is suited to smaller operators that have no requirement to use multiple sources of content. A Sub-Licence holder is required to have an exclusive relationship with a Full Licence holder and is only permitted to offer the same products that the Full Licensee is licensed to offer. If a Sub-Licence holder wishes to offer further products from a different supplier, it will be required to upgrade to a Full Licence.

Software Supplier Licence

The Software Supplier Licence is an elective licence. A business offering software provision services from the Isle of Man and to Isle of Man B2C licensees is not required to hold an OGRA Licence, but many software suppliers choose to demonstrate credibility by showing the highly regarded Isle of Man badge on their website.

The Software Supplier Licence can cover traditional software supplies, such as slots, casinos, platforms, back office functions and live dealer studios, as well as re-sellers of these products. It gives operators and software providers the assurance that B2B partners are operating to high standards of corporate governance and therefore minimises repetitional and financial risk.

The Software Supplier Licence further enables a business to list all its game and platform content on the Approved Software Registry, which facilitates fast and easy deployment of games for operators.

Token or Blockchain-Based Software Supplier Licence

The Token or Blockchain-Based Software Supplier Licence is also an elective licence. A business offering to supply software products that involve cryptocurrency and/or blockchain products for the gaming sector is not required to hold an OGRA Licence, but many software suppliers prefer to demonstrate credibility by showing the highly regarded Isle of Man badge on their website.

Sovereign Isle of Man e-Gaming Services

The Sovereign Group has been at the forefront of providing corporate assistance to B2B operators, B2C turnkey providers, developers and affiliates across multiple jurisdictions worldwide. In a constantly changing regulatory environment, the requirement for sound advisory services and guidance on issues ranging from corporate structuring to licensing is highly relevant.

With a longstanding presence in the Isle of Man, Sovereign has significant experience in providing corporate services to operators and business operating in the eGaming space, as follows:

  • Company set-up.
  • Guidance on licensing.
  • Tax compliance.
  • Bookkeeping and Accounting services.
  • Payroll services.
  • VAT services.
  • Residency and tax planning for personnel.
  • Insurance services, including medical cover and liability cover.
  • Retirement Planning services, including setting up and administering corporate and personal pension schemes.
Frequently Asked Questions
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