Alderney’s gaming regulatory body is the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), which was set up in May 2000 to oversee the island’s extensive online gambling activities. As the AGCC states on its website: "Alderney transmits more Internet e-gambling traffic than any other location on the globe and is in fact much larger than the combined activity of its three European offshore rivals – Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and Malta."
As the gaming industry has rapidly changed over the years, the AGCC has refined and streamlined its regulations to compete with other online gaming hubs. There are now only two categories of eGambling licence, which can be viewed as two parts of a whole.
Organisations can apply for one or both of the licences depending on their needs.
As the northernmost of the Channel Islands, Alderney is an unlikely hub for online gaming. The tiny island is a little over three miles across and has a population of under 2,000. Yet under the UK Gambling Act 2005, countries that are not part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and are not located in either the UK or Gibraltar, are forbidden from advertising their gambling services in the UK. Alderney is one of the few white-listed exceptions to the act, giving its operators the privileged position of being able to advertise their services in the UK – a great advantage when 40% of their operators work exclusively in the UK market.
Alderney has taken a conservative approach, prioritising tight regulations over fast growth. It has, nonetheless, seen great success in the online gaming industry, and the money generated has had a direct impact on the local economy, contributing over £12m in just six years. However, change may be in the air, as there are claims that EU countries may be required to mirror the likes of France and Italy by requiring online gaming companies to have a regional gaming licence in an effort to drive taxes back into the economy in which the money is spent. This would certainly hamper Alderney’s growth, with so many of their operators doing business solely in the UK. If this happens, the AGCC may have to be prepared to see some migration of operators.
Alderney has a number of strategies in place to encourage operators to stay registered the island. These include becoming the first iGaming jurisdiction to have its own bespoke cloud platform. This is intended to provide cost-effective solutions to online gambling operators, and to reduce costs for new start-ups wishing to operate on Alderney. On offer will be state-of-the-art data storage, multi-layered security and one of the largest telecommunications structures in the Channel Islands.
Despite its advantageous position, the AGCC has moved forward cautiously, making sure that its regulations are watertight, rather than trying to attract as much new money and business as possible. Alderney has also been spearheading a co-operative agreement with partners around the world. The AGCC has several Memoranda of Understanding with gaming boards across the globe, including the Danish Gaming Authority, Nevada Gaming Board, and the relevant commissions in Ontario, Canada to work on matters of probity and due-diligence investigations, as well as sharing data storage solutions.
The AGCC also has partnerships and agreements with other bodies that oversee gambling regulation, including the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC), the Guernsey Financial Intelligence Services, the Guernsey Police, and Credit Bureau. It employs London-based accountancy firm Dixon Wilson, which specialises in gambling law, and is also supported by Law Officers of the Crown in Guernsey for legal matters.
Alderney is a traffic hub for all markets in online gaming, including casino games, sports betting, and live casino broadcasts. There are approximately 2000 Internet gaming sites based out of Alderney, owned by around 350 companies. Some of the brands that operate with an AGCC licence include bgo Casino and Paddy Power. These online gaming firms are attracted here by the trustworthy regulation and low taxes – Alderney lacks corporate tax, VAT and gaming duty. Other benefits include a stable currency, fast fibre-optic connections that stretch between the UK and Europe and beyond, as well as outstanding IT support.
Given its minute size, Alderney would struggle to host even a relatively small tournament. Indeed, many of the employees of the AGCC do not live on the island, and commute via ferry. However, Alderney acts as an important conduit for the hosting of online gambling events with a variety of iGaming companies, transmitting more traffic in this sector than anywhere else on the globe.
While there may be challenges ahead in the world of online gaming, it is clear that Alderney is proceeding in its tried-and-tested way – with an emphasis on a clear strategy and tight regulation.
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