It seems that problem gambling has lately been one of the most-discussed issues, not only in the UK, but also on the Isle of Man. Local media has reported that the gambling companies which operate under licenses granted by Isle of Man regulatory authorities had contributed almost £700,000 for research and prevention of problem gambling behaviour.
The Minister of Economic Development Laurence Skelly commented for the House of Keys that the number of players suffering from problem gambling behaviour actually decreased. He was questioned by the Douglas North Member of the House of Keys David Ashford over the matters related with the issue, including support and funding of problem gambling over the last three years.
According to Minister Skelly, the local Gambling Supervision Commission expects all license holders to join the initiative and become more engaged with corporate social responsibilities. The latter include various initiatives related to supporting efforts and funding of problem gambling behaviour research, prevention, education and treatment.
The Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) of the Isle of Man is an independent statutory board. It was established back in 1962 and since then it has been engaged not only with regulation and licensing of land-based gambling operators, but also with online gambling companies and activities, which have marked a significant increase over the last few years.
The Gambling Supervision Commission’s work and policy is bound to certain rules and key principles. It is engaged with making sure that gambling services on the Isle of Man are fair and unbiased, with keeping the gambling industry in the region crime-free, and of course, with protection of more vulnerable individuals or those at risk.
Currently, the financial contributions of the local licensees are coordinated by the GSC. The financing is passed on to both on-island and off-island agencies which are focused on providing help for those affected by problem gambling and for various activities related to prevention and education. Since the beginning of this initiative, the local license holders have passed almost £700,000 to the Commission.
The figures are considerably higher than the ones registered only a few years ago. For example, the Department of Health and Social Care received £55,943 in 2013, while the UK-based Responsible Gambling Trust was given £50,000. The next year, 2014, the UK Government changed its gambling legislation, so the gambling companies licensed on the Isle of Man that held online gambling operations in the UK fell under the regulation of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). After the law alterations were made, all issues related to problem gambling were handled to the Commission.
The UKGC, on the other hand, transmitted all the money collected to its Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The money raised from the gambling industry on the Isle of Man in 2014 amounted to £126,471. In 2015, the funds raised by local gambling license holders were estimated to £146,521.