The business section of the Isle of Man Today newspaper reported this week that Internet gambling is the fastest growing sector of the Manx economy, bucking the economic slowdown trend with the prospect of new businesses and new jobs being created on the island over the next few years.
More than 360 jobs have been created in the past three years, the newspaper reports, with some of the biggest names in the online gambling industry including Microgaming, PokerStars and Playtech setting up head offices.
The report reveals that there are currently 13 licence holders with eight new licences issued in 2008 and two more operators due to go live shortly. Another 10 applications are with the Gambling Supervision Commission for approval and 10 more are at various stages of preparing an application.
Latest firms to be granted gaming licences are Fastbet and NYX Interactive . Fastbet is expected to create 10 to 15 jobs in the next 12 months while it is hoped that NYX Interactive will recruit up to 30 people over two years in business management, marketing, sales and technical departments. That figure could rise to 100 people within five years.
Garth Kimber, head of e-gaming development at the Department of Trade and Industry, told IOM Today: “The Isle of Man continues to attract interest from a large number of companies looking to change to, or set up in, a new jurisdiction.
“Not only do businesses already on the Island continue to recruit but new companies are applying for licences month by month.
“In the present climate the low duty rates of the Isle of Man become even more attractive than when times are good and we have seen an increase in interest from large well known brands. While some of the new businesses have found it harder to obtain funding than previously, the interest from established businesses will compensate for this.
“Gambling business tends to slow a little in difficult times, being seen as recession hardened rather than recession proof, although little data exists for the online industry. The performance of the sector is bucking this trend because of the volume of new business coming to the Island.
‘The new types of business models licensed last month offer their services to other operators and already we are seeing companies looking to license here as the direct result of both NYX Interactive and Fasbet being located here.
“We are also seeing an increase in companies placing their back-up or “disaster recovery” systems in our data centres and peripheral business such as payment solutions companies are locating on the Island as well.
“Figures from the Manx e-Gaming Association and the DTI are expected out in January and I am sure they will show significant growth in the last 12 months. A trend I expect to continue for 2009 as well.”