Session 1 | eGaming & the Isle of Man

Lyle Wraxall @ Digital Isle of Man

Over the last two decades, the Isle of Man has developed an international reputation at the forefront of the eGaming industry by continuing to expand its offering and adapt its regulation to industry advancements. As such, the Island is home to a diverse and highly-skilled talent pool, who know your business inside out.

The past year or so has been a whirlwind for our industry. When the virus first emerged in China in 2019, few of us imagined that less than half a year later sports arenas and stadiums would be standing empty, and that retail lotteries, casinos and betting shops would have to close their doors for months on end.
It was shocking to see how quickly everything changed for the sports-betting sector. Companies who had been turning over huge profits on live sports lost their main revenue stream overnight, while retail businesses that had been thriving in the pre-pandemic world suddenly saw their shops closed and their profits evaporate into thin air.

The “new normal” of the pandemic has definitely been a wake-up call for many operators. COVID-19 has been the catalyst for a huge phase of strategic revaluation, particularly for those companies who were used to doing well on the back of a single product in a single region. With so much uncertainty in the air, those highly specialised operators have had to identify potential vulnerabilities and adapt to these unpredictable times.

All of this has meant that the past year has been a time of unprecedented diversification for our eGaming community. Some of our licensees have focused on diversifying the range of products they offer, others have focussed on diversifying the regions they operate in, and others have moved into different channels, such as mobile, in order to continue to reach their customer base.

Session 2 | Blockchain CDD

Nick Williamson @ Qadre/Mirror

Blockchain technology allows us to form a secure cryptographic identity through public-key infrastructure and a tamper-evident database. These elements open the door to a more secure way to manage identities online into a single database.

Digital identity improvements through blockchain can help financial institutions meet the ever-changing Know Your Client (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) requirements while simultaneously reducing the costs associated with implementing a robust KYC programme.

Qadre will talk about how this technology can help us create a new foundation of trust through transparency; with participants being able to easily verify information about others through this shared data and lower levels of risk.

Session 3 | E-Gaming Insurance & Solutions

Peter O’Donnell @ MAC Group

This presentation looks at Directors and Officers Liabilities within the eGaming sector and the difficulties faced in obtaining insurance cover in the current hard market, both in the UK market and further afield.

The content will also cover prize indemnity and cyber liability, especially important relevance to those that support or operate within the eGaming sector.

The cost of a cyber attack can be extreme and cyber crime isn’t going away, and with that, the fear of potential cost and distress to individuals isn’t going away either.

Session 4 | Payments & the Gaming Sector

Panel Discussion
Rodney Prescott @ TechnologistKiwi/MannBenham Consultant (Chair)

This panel discussion will look at the positive steps the Isle of Man has taken to deliver payment solutions for the gaming sector. But we will also look at how changes in AML regulation have affected banking services, what steps have been and are being taken to deliver/develop these services on the Isle of Man, and what directions do we see payments and banking going in the future.

The panel is made up of an interesting background of industry and sector experience, sponsored by MuchBetter.

Mark Sperring @ MuchBetter
Paul Smith @ Capital International Bank
Lorraine Nelson @ Grant Thornton Ireland

Session 5 | Banking & the Gaming Sector

Steven Quayle @ Capital International Bank

Understanding the eGaming sector and the high standard of regulation across multiple jurisdictions allows Capital International Bank to make informed decisions and to implement a risk-based approach when assessing new business from the eGaming industry.

Whether it is new start-ups trying to get a foothold in the market, or well-established enterprises seeking alternative and contingency solutions, Capital International Bank offers solutions for operational gaming accounts, player protection / segregated player funds accounts across a variety of jurisdictions.

Launched in 2021, with pragmatic decision making, fast onboarding and transparent fee structures, Capital International Bank is a completely digital bank specifically designed to meet the needs of corporate clients, including those in the eGaming sector. Find out within 200 seconds if you are eligible for an account, follow a streamlined digital onboarding process and get your account opened within 10 working days.

This presentation will look at the positive steps the Capital International Group has taken to deliver corporate banking solutions for the gaming sector through the introduction of the Isle of Man’s newest bank.

Session 6 | EU Substance

Chris Dera @ Grant Thornton

The precise nature of the substance requirements affecting Isle of Man tax resident companies vary between relevant sectors. The legislation sets out some general requirements that will apply to all sectors, however there is a need for clarity on how this will affect the eGaming sector and other associated geographically mobile businesses. Key aspects of the legislation that are relevant to the Island-based online gaming companies are the substance requirements of ‘high risk IP’ companies and the determination of what is deemed to be adequate substance.

Chris will look at the key aspects of the legislation that have had an impact on the eGaming sector.

Session 7 | Digital Corporate Tax

Lorraine Nelson @ Grant Thornton Ireland

Companies could originally set up local branches in countries that had relatively low corporate tax rates and declare profits there. That meant that they only pay the local rate of tax, even if the profits mainly come from sales made elsewhere.

The introduction of a minimum corporate tax rate of 15% aims to stop this from happening in two ways. Firstly it aims to make companies pay more tax in the countries where they are selling their products or services, rather than wherever they end up declaring their profits. Secondly, a global minimum tax rate would help avoid countries undercutting each other with low tax rates.

This presentation talks about the global minimum tax and what it will mean.

Session 8 | Crypto-tethering to Fiat

Rodney Prescott @ Technologist Kiwi

Tethering uses blockchain-based cryptocurrency whose cryptocoins which are in circulation are backed by an equivalent amount of traditional fiat currency, like the US Dollar, the Euro, or the Japanese Yen, which are held in a designated bank account.

This presentation looks at how this new breed of cryptocurrency transacting aims to keep cryptocurrency valuations stable, as opposed to the wide swings observed in the prices of other popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. This method of introducing stablecoins would allow them to be used as a medium of exchange and a mode of storage of value, instead of being used as a medium of speculative investment.

Session 9 | Crypto-Sportsbooks & Casinos

Kendra Ross @ Shelgeyr Limited

New to the Isle of Man, btb88 is a leading Bitcoin sportsbook and casino.
But, what is a crypto-sportsbook?

Well, at a traditional sportsbook, your ‘bookie’ is the middleman for all your transactions. And of course, the middleman has to get paid.

A crypto sportsbook is simply a sportsbook that supports online betting using cryptocurrency. With a crypto Sportsbook, there is no need for a middleman.
And, a crypto-casino is just what is sounds like.

Crypto casinos are online casinos where cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can be used by gamblers to fund their accounts. You can opt to gamble with cryptocurrency in the same way that you would choose a conventional payment method at an online casino.

Kendra will talk about pure cryptocurrency gaming platforms. With no fiat currencies being supported, there is no exposure or need for private banking. This provides an improved level of security and privacy.

Session 10 | NFTs & Digital Assets

Hesus Inoma @ Grant Thornton Ireland

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) have made waves in gaming for a few years now, but more so in esports.

Players can now claim actual ownership of in-game items which can be resold on secondary markets within the online environment, traded and even monetised in the real world. Once owned, nobody can just take these items back, and therefore these items now represent a quasi ‘investment’ or digital asset; making them much more than just a one-way purchase.

This presentation will look at NFTs and digital assets and how the digital realm and the real world will impact us in the future.

Session 11 | Asian Markets & the Isle of Man

Panel Discussion
Rodney Prescott @ TechnologistKiwi/MannBenham Consultant (Chair)

Asia accounts for about 60% of the worldwide population and combines several expanding world economies, so it is no surprise that it is one of the largest gambling markets in the world. The eGaming industry in the region has continued its growth trajectory and this can be aptly illustrated by the year-on-year growth in revenues. In fact, the online gambling and betting market is anticipated to expand at a significant compound annual growth rate of around 14% by 2026.

The panel is made up of an interesting background of experience within Asia, sponsored by Champion Sports.

Simon Noble @ Champion Sports
Bill Mummery @ Celton Manx
Oliver Wu @ Empire/Good Gaming

Session 12 | Innovation & Technology

Bill Mummery @ Celton Manx

With many years experience within the egaming sector this presentation will look at how the Isle of Man has used innovation and technology to guard itself against the pandemic, and how businesses have developed and evolved as a consequence.

At Celton Manx, the continued innovation and use of new technology have been instrumental in maintaining it’s seat at the global e-gaming table.

With their solar Tesla installation and having the first live dealer platform on the Isle of Man, Celton Manx can proudly lead by example.

Session 13 | Now & the Future of esports

Samuel Oustayiannis @ CMS Legal Services

When it comes to esports it seems like there is no end to where this road will take us.

Part of that journey has been with what originally began as individuals and small groups of online gamers coming together to enjoy a hobby, has now over the years grown into a multi billion-dollar industry. There is now a multitude of gamers logging on to live esports events across the world with audiences that traditional sports could only dream of.

Mostly esport takes the form of ‘organised’ multi-player gaming competitions, basically between the professional players either as individuals or as teams. Football has been extremely quick to react to the professionalisation of esports with clubs and national teams signing their own esports teams to compete against each other in non-football related events.

But what about regulation, or oversight - a number of esport governing bodies have been established to collectively represent esports on a national, regional or global basis. These governing bodies may have various levels of involvement with the esport, from being part of esports regulation to simply acting more as a trade group and public face for esports.

Session 14 | Cyber Crime Threats

Colin Tansley @ Intelect Solutions

Colin Tansley is the Managing Director of Intelect Group, an Isle of Man company who specialise in cyber security, due diligence, risk management and training. He has recently designed and built an online risk assessment platform (IRIS) to provide structure and guidance for AML regulated businesses who are obliged to compile them.

Colin’s presentation will focus on the most common threats faced by online gaming and gambling operators. He will also examine how tried and tested crime prevention strategies could be utilised by licence holders to ensure availability of information on the sorts of issues that cause harm to them and their client base.

Rising US Market & Trends

Stephen Trimble @ Continent 8 Technologies

So central to the global tech revolution, and often regarded as a bastion of western liberty, yet in the United States, gambling still remains a heavily restricted pastime particularly as far as online gambling is concerned. Operators are severely restricted by Federal Laws, but change is happening – with more on the way.

So what is the position in the US as it relates to online gambling, and how does this impact on players, and indeed operators, of online gambling services?
In bringing clarity to the position and with front-line insights from the US gaming marketplace Stephen will discuss the wider opportunities, threats and realities of business in the Land of the Free.