Online betting industry needs States support
AN online therapy service designed to tackle gambling addictions has not been used since it launched six years ago.
Meanwhile, the Jersey Gambling Commission has called for the government to do more to expand the Island’s online gambling industry.
In its 2018 annual report, chairman Advocate Cyril Whelan outlined the commission’s ambitions for the industry.
The report urges the government to better promote the benefits for gambling companies to register their business in Jersey, arguing that the Island is missing out on potentially lucrative business.
And the report also reveals in its section on social responsibility that in the six years since making an online therapy service available at gamblingtherapy.org/je not one person has accessed it.
‘Analysis of the data shows significant use of the site and that people are accessing the data contained within it, but to date no Island resident has made use of the online counselling provision that is available.’
Making a case for the government to help expand Jersey’s online gambling industry, Advocate Whelan said: ‘One of the areas that I do believe deserves a level of thought and attention which it has never quite received at political level is the capacity of the industry to add value and diversification to the Jersey economy.
‘Over the past number of years, promotion of the sector has been undertaken by a group of private companies without support from government. By any measure its efforts have been successful and the Island has gone from having no remote gambling licensees to now hosting ten operator and business-to-business companies.
‘While this is certainly positive, it remains a drop in the ocean compared to other jurisdictions and is certainly less than what was envisaged when the States adopted the regulations to allow online gambling in 2011.’
It was not until 2015, however, that the Island granted its first online gambling licence following delays related to advertising permissions for those registered in the Island.
He added that boosting the industry would create jobs, training opportunities and income.
Dr Jason Lane, chief executive of the Jersey Gambling Commission, said Alderney showed how other jurisdictions had attracted investors.
He said: ‘Compared to other similar offshore jurisdictions, we do have a small number of licensees.
‘Alderney licensees are in the region of 40 online operators, Gibraltar 34, while the Isle of Man licences approximately 38 companies.
‘Isle of Man’s gambling services make up around 20% of its gross domestic product.’
Dr Lane estimated that less than 1% of Jersey’s GDP was generated from online gambling, while the total for the UK sector is about £14.5 billion.
He added that while Malta is different as it is a sovereign nation, its online gambling sector is bigger than its finance industry.