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Jersey to set up a gambling commission

December 14, 2009 2009

For many years, the attitude of Jersey’s authorities towards gambling has been slightly cautious. The states of Jersey have already a strong reputation as a financial services centre but are in the process of analysing opportunities for economic diversification through the development of a local gambling industry. In this regard, the members of the States Assembly have approved the principle of the setting up of a Gambling Commission.

The gambling activities in Jersey are subject to restrictions when compared with the others self governed Channels islands and are currently limited to betting offices. In fact, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Alderney have already well developed online gambling industries leaving Jersey far behind. The establishment of a gambling commission and the introduction of a new regulatory framework will make Jersey the latest online gambling licensing jurisdiction. However, the States of Jersey can expect to directly benefit of new revenue via the future licensing operators.

In advance of the presentation of the new Commission legal framework, a Shadow Gambling Commission was established in December 2006. Senator Alan Maclean, who is also the Economic Development Minister, has clarified the role of the new Commission. In December 2009, the States have approved his proposal to set up the Jersey Gambling Commission. This is a first step towards an internet gambling industry in the small jurisdiction of Jersey.

The new regulatory framework will be structured in accordance with the following principles:

  • gambling should be regulated in accordance with generally accepted international standards to prevent fraud and money laundering, and should not be permitted to be a source of crime;
  • gambling should be verifiability fair to consumers of those services;
  • gambling should always be conducted responsibly and with safeguards necessary to protect children and vulnerable people.

A new primary gambling Law will be presented to the States in 2010. For the time being, only the concept of a gambling commission was accepted, that does not have to be interpreted as giving the green light to the introduction of a full e-gambling licensing regime. As the above-mentioned Minister noticed, the States will therefore have the opportunity to debate, reject or accept part or all of the proposed modernisation of the legislation. Alan Maclean proposes to bring a report and proposition, by March 2010, to ask the States to confirm their continued support for e-gaming.

Thibault Verbiest

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