SBC Business Correspondent Mark McGuinness met up with Ray Davies for a coffee and croissant. Ray is the Egaming Development Manager at the Department of Economic Development for the Isle of Man Government.
Mark McGuinness catches up with Ray to discuss 2014 big issues, and how the Isle of Man Government is gearing to tackle new regulations and new technologies to serve the igaming business sector.
SBC: Hi Ray, you’ve been very busy of late attending industry shows, how was the recent EiG conference in Barcelona for you?
Ray: EiG is not as busy as say the up and coming ICE conference on February next year. However the inquiries tend to be of a high quality. The show has resulted in a number of very positive enquiries both in terms of new business and in relation to raising our profile with key intermediaries within the sector. We are also looking forward to ICE and welcoming both existing and new businesses to our stand located at N11-N225.
SBC: Point of Consumption Tax (POCT) in the UK is and shall remain a hot topic of conversation as the year draws to an end and of course next year. Can you share your views?
Ray: You are correct Mark; the UK’s proposed POCT on non-UK based online gaming companies has gained its fair share of critics since being introduced. It’s about the UK protecting its consumers and respecting the existing regulations from its soon to be extinct ‘White List’ partners.
It’s bound to be a confusing time for operators, especially as the UK Gambling Commission is purported to be expecting more than 200 applications to review and process, which could potentially result in some back log.
From an Isle of Man perspective, IOM operators will be able to take advantage of the ‘advanced’ (temporary) licence facility that we have in place so they can continue to take UK players legally whilst their licence application is processed, thus limiting interruptions to current business operations bearing in mind next summer shall be a busy period with the World Cup taking place in Brazil.
The Isle of Man eGaming team are very approachable and our philosophy at all levels within the egaming business cluster is that we are ‘easy to do business with’. Indeed post POCT, the island expects to remain an attractive jurisdiction for licensing, especially as the costs of doing business remain competitive and the Island ethos for high quality customer service differentiates us from the crowd.
SBC: Mobile continues to drive market accessibility in the egaming sector, of which the island is well catered for in that department. What do you think shall be the next big thing for operators?
Ray: You’re absolutely correct m-Commerce shall in my opinion continue to drive market penetration and adoption for operators for the foreseeable future. The island is unique in that respect as we have the likes of Paddy Power, who are licensed in the IOM very much leading the way in bespoke product and marketing strategies for smartphones and tablets to games developers such as Cayetano Technologies that specialize in mobile games. The island was one of the first jurisdictions to launch 3G and soon to be 4G, and is uniquely positioned both geographically and from a talent and skill set perspective within the egaming business cluster to offer new and indeed new licensees access to that ‘mobile expertize’ as undoubtedly the number of connections to the interweb via mobile devices shall continue to dominate access to new gaming consumers for operators.
SBC: And finally Ray, tell us something about yourself that perhaps not a lot of people know?
Ray: Well Mark you’ve put me of the spot now! Before working in the public sector I worked in various marketing roles as I have a Masters in Branding and Marketing, so I fully understand the importance of a comprehensive brand and marketing strategy both for new entrants and existing egaming operators on an international level.
However one of my other passions is that I am an accomplished photographer and was awarded the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain Award (CPAGB) for my work.
Head of e-Gaming Development at the Department of Economic Development, Isle of Man Government