Posted Friday 13th February 2015 by Andrew Jarrett
Observations from ICE Totally Gaming 2015 Conference
Jersey exhibited for the first time at the ICE Totally Gaming Conference following the Island’s recent launch as the new tier one jurisdiction for eGaming.
Getting to this point involved outstanding collaboration between many local businesses, all of us driven by a common purpose: to diversify Jersey’s economy and attract high quality companies to the Island. The conference saw the results of months of work come together, and further strengthened and refined Jersey eGaming’s brand identity and offering. We were delighted by both the number and substance of enquiries received, which reflected a marked industry appetite for the unique Jersey eGaming proposition: our world-leading legislation, reputation and services.
The cluster of companies that constitute Jersey eGaming were aware of the detractors: we have eagerly engaged in the many facets of this debate - from moral issues to timing issues - advancing and defending the idea that the creation of an attractive environment for eGaming companies would not be done in spite of our global standing as a rigorously regulated financial centre, but as an extension of it. From a business perspective, the conference demonstrated that Jersey’s entry on the global eGaming stage at this point in time is a strategic advantage. The Conference allayed any fears; we did not just attract quantity, we attracted quality. Jersey eGaming’s proposition regards professionalism and regulation as central, and we attracted companies which also held those values as core to their future value proposition.
So which parts of Jersey’s offering were particularly attractive to eGaming businesses? Our legislation and our reputation were frequently cited. This is where Jersey’s freshness on the scene is a clear advantage: our legislation is designed from its inception to be flexible and agile, taking account of the most recent industry developments which have taught us to expect the unexpected. With the rapid evolution of platforms and markets comes the need for a legislative set-up that doesn’t only keep up but intrinsically adapts to support and enable the companies it is base to, while always maintaining the highest standards of accountability. This is why the Jersey Gambling Commission sits down with each prospective company and creates a bespoke license with them. This agility is only possible because we have the regulatory systems in place. We have removed the unnecessary fetters of waiting for repeated legislative changes in a rapidly evolving industry, because we can adapt while always demanding high levels of transparency. Particularly for companies seeking to list, the high levels of controls and probity provided by Jersey’s finance sector are absolute positives.
It is important to reinforce that Jersey eGaming is not just about attracting quality companies to the Island; it is about growing our local services and economy. Businesses wishing to work with Jersey will inevitably need to use the financial services sector in the first instance to set up local gaming companies and open bank accounts. Going back to accountability, this engagement with our well-regulated sector should ensure that only businesses of the right quality are brought to the Island. In the longer term, eGaming will bring economic diversification and increased intellectual capital on the IT side. This means more skills, jobs and GVA contribution for Jersey. It is a point worth making that the regulator is set up to cover costs, and isn’t seen as a revenue generator – which is in stark contrast to all the other jurisdictions.
The momentum around Jersey was very much evident at ICE. The strong awareness campaign run before the conference laid the groundwork for enquiries that were not purely speculative, but genuine, considered interest based on an existing grasp of our proposition.
With our results at ICE as a springboard, I am looking forward to the next developments of Jersey eGaming.
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