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Alderney: an online safe harbour amidst Asian market turbulence

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With over 20 years’ experience of the eGaming industry, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission is well placed to assist Asian operators to navigate the ever-changing eGaming landscape.

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Over the past 12 months we’ve witnessed a radical shift in Asia’s gaming landscape, highlighting instability across the market. Covid has been just one contributing factor, adding to the existing regulatory inconsistencies across the region, uncertainty in the Philippines and now pressure from Beijing, leaving the gaming industry in a precarious position.

The differing ways in which Governments across the world are handling the COVID crisis has highlighted flaws in some business set ups and potential concentration risks for those with operations in one sole jurisdiction, especially where that jurisdiction proves restrictive to business continuity.

We’ve seen this play out in the Philippines, where POGOs affected by the seemingly endless lockdowns, changeable eGaming regulations and Government management of COVID have been forced to look outside of their home ground for solutions to allow them to continue to operate. Many have sought out the experience and consistency offered by a jurisdiction like Alderney who understands the industry, and the challenges faced by global operators.

It’s not just the Philippines though, the unpredictable approaches to eGaming regulations across Asian countries has left operators in a state of flux for some time now. The recent news from Beijing sent a clear message to the industry, in no uncertain terms, and we’re already seeing businesses now taking steps to diversify and change direction.

In times of such uncertainty and change, many businesses have taken the opportunity to look for a new or additional base providing much needed stability, with a strong, respected regulator and steady political backdrop ranking high on the criteria for choice of jurisdiction.

Throughout the pandemic, Alderney eGaming, the strategic and developmental arm of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), has been advising gaming businesses, suppliers and advisors, many from Asian countries, who have taken the decision to work with a regulator who understands their business, and has experience of their markets.

Much of the work for 2020 and 2021 has centred around those who are choosing to relocate, with Alderney eGambling assisting them not only with the licensing element, but also to strategize and plan the logistics of the move.

For some, relocation has meant a satellite office to support offices in other established jurisdictions. For others it’s a relocation of the entire operation to the Bailiwick of Guernsey (of which Alderney is the second largest island.) The options for regulation from the AGCC have been tailored to meet the needs of the industry and provide flexible solutions: being licensed by the AGCC and holding a physical based in one of the Islands of the Bailiwick, or holding a licence with the AGCC and maintaining a company structure elsewhere.

Alderney has regulated Asian facing businesses for a number of years and the stability of the Bailiwick has also attracted many Asian operators. This year has seen several seek out a business continuity solution and it’s easy to see why when you look at how the pandemic has been handled by the jurisdiction.

Businesses on Guernsey and Alderney have been largely able to continue as normal throughout the past year since the initial lockdown ended, with only a short period of disturbance which was quickly resolved with a circuit break-style intervention at the start of 2021. There are currently no restrictions on socialising and masks are not mandatory. The Bailiwick blueprint, mapping out the Islands’ strategy for a return to normality post Covid, looks to allow for movement in and out of the islands without quarantine restrictions by the start of July.

The two largest Islands of the Bailiwick, Guernsey and Alderney, offer a supportive government, political stability and the backdrop of a cosmopolitan business community and an enviable island lifestyle and AGCC licensees can choose to base themselves in either Island.

While other jurisdictions have spent recent years adjusting their regulations to fit every whim and trends of the ever-evolving industry, the AGCC has already created a licensing framework and approach that has been able to stand the test of time, incorporating new technologies and innovations effortlessly. Working in the Asian space for many years, the AGCC has adapted unique solutions to meet the needs of the operators in the region.

The events of the past 12 months have, undoubtedly, brought challenges for many, but it’s reassuring to know that a safe harbour exists for businesses facing disruption. The stability and certainty offered by Alderney is tried and tested, with a regulator who understands the challenges and supports its licensees and a jurisdiction that is already welcoming new businesses. The opportunity exists now to not only succeed in navigating the rapidly changing landscape post-Covid, but to thrive while doing so.

Susan O'Leary
Susan O’Leary is the CEO of Alderney eGambling, the Alderney regulator’s strategic and development body. As a lawyer, she represented some of the world’s leading eGambling operators and gambling service providers including many of Alderney’s licensees for many years; and as such has perspective on both the commercial and regulatory elements. Susan has a clear understanding of the online landscape and is a regular speaker at key industry conferences and events globally. 

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