Coming on the heels of intensifying confusion surrounding the jurisprudence and jurisdiction of the United States’ Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) the Isle of Man has introduced legislation to codify the regulations of its own booming gaming industry.

The following is taken directly from the Gambling Duties Bill Consultation Document released by the Customs and Excise Division of the Treasury:

The past few years have been some radical changes taking place affecting the Island’s gambling sector. What had been a fairly small industry, concentrating almost entirely on providing services to Island Residents with most betting taking place in traditional retail betting “shops”, has developed into a Multimedia, multinational one.

Operators in the Island now have their markets throughout the world, and a framework has developed to supply the essential software, financial and technological support it needs.

Whilst there remains a small number of betting shops, the bulk of business is now done online, and what had been chiefly a betting industry where bookmakers dealt with wagers on horse racing, football and other sports events has developed in a variety of ways, with various forms of gambling offered on a constantly growing range of events, games etc.

The gambling market has become increasingly global. This is despite the prohibitions imposed on online gambling in the USA [UIGEA] and the restrictions that remain in a great many other countries.

The proposed bill would take the place of existing legislation mostly to establish a single gambling duty to be paid on the gross yields of both online gaming companies and live pool betting companies operating in the Isle of Man. While this ubiquitous duty itself is only a minor change from the separate excise fees of the previous legislation, the combination of all regulatory mechanisms under the umbrella of a single Act will provide the State with enforcement options previously unavailable. These options include most notably the use of Treasury Warrants in the pursuit of delinquent payments which are generally reserved for the collection of income tax debt.

Other parts of the Bill include the ratification of a “holding out” process whereby truant companies would incur a temporary freeze out of any and all wire and/or Internet services. Furthermore, the Treasury is endowed with its own discretionary powers to provide information to “bodies responsible for the regulation of sports, financial transactions etc where this is necessary to detect or prevent corruption.”

Any comment seeking an official response from the Isle of Man should be submitted to the Customs and Excise Division of the Treasury Department by June 20, 2008. The final version of the Bill is hoped to be prepared for final approval by the end of the 2008 calendar year.

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