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Conversation needed over e-gaming says campaigner

Protestors highlighted the potential dangers of gambling addiction

A group of protestors have held a demonstration in Douglas to highlight the issue of online gambling addiction.

It's hoped it will 'start a conversation' about the industry's place on the Island.

The BBC's reported that the 2021-22 National Income Report showed e-gaming contributed 15.7 percent to the economy.

Organiser of the protest Phil Craine says the group feels strongly about the harm done by the industry which has become a 'pillar of the Manx economy.

But executive director of Celton Manx Bill Mummery says the Island's licensing framework was "regarded as a global leader in the quality of regulation and protection".

He believes if the Island withdrew from the sector "people would find themselves carrying out the same activity but under a regime, or lack of a licensing regime, in other parts of the world", exposing them to harms rather than protected from them.

In its annual report for 2022-23 Manx addiction charity Motiv8 said there'd been an increase in those attending for support for their gambling problems with a 37 percent rise on the previous year.

It's also started a dedicated support group for those who've been affected.

In a statement to the BBC Douglas-based firm Microgaming said it only operated in "highly regulated gambling markets which offer the highest levels of player protection" and "safer gambling remains our number one priority".

The company had "worked alongside responsible gambling charities" to support those affected by problem gambling and would continue to work with the third sector to "identify new ways to create a safe and enjoyable experience for all".

But Mr Craine says more needs to be done and has called for the Gambling Supervision Commission to use "their powers more" to encourage minimum stakes.

He also claims the Department for Enterprise is "actively promoting" e-gaming on its website.

The DfE and the GSC have released a joint statement. 

It says: “The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission’s approach to regulating the eGaming industry is based on stringent measures to protect players and ensure a responsible gaming environment.

“This includes rigorous licensing requirements, mandatory player protection features and regular audits of gaming operations.

“By securing an Isle of Man license, license holders are required to demonstrate and commit to upholding the highest standards of player protection.

“Through the Digital Agency, the Department continues to regularly engage with all businesses operating in the eGaming sector, alongside community groups and problem gambling services.

“The Department is committed to ensuring the development of the eGaming sector is supported by a robust regulatory framework which balances player protection with fostering a competitive and innovative eGaming sector, acknowledging its important contribution to the economy and employment opportunities.”

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