|The Isle of Man has been at the forefront of the UK's push to establish itself as an online gambling haven, with several high profile online casino launches in the past couple of years. However, the future of the Island as a top-tier gambling jurisdiction is looking less promising, after several casino giants threatened to pull out of an Isle of Man pilot scheme. |
The Island’s strict licensing standards attracted land-based giants Rank, Littlewoods and MGM , but the future of some license holders’ online ventures is now uncertain.
Some of the companies have yet to make the expected financial returns from their Isle of Man operations, and have voiced concerns about the long-term potential of basing casinos in the UK.
Casino Atlantis, one of the first to casinos to launch with an Isle of Man license last year, is in most doubt. Its backer, global gaming group Kerzner International, has announced that it is cutting its funding and is withdrawing from the online gaming sector.
MGM spokesman Alan Feldman described the company’s online venture as “a long-term play”, but did acknowledge that the short-term prospects, as evidenced by Kerzner’s decision are not looking good.
Part of the problem for the Isle of Man is that, unlike many other jurisdictions, its license conditions prohibit the receipt of wagers from US residents – effectively ruling out custom from the largest single market for online casinos.
However, Will Greenhow, director of finance in the Isle of Man's Home Affairs department, denied any problems with the licensees.