Nearly 300 delegates converged on the Villa Marina in Douglas, Isle of Man on September 7 to attend KPMG’s annual Isle of Man eGaming Summit. The event marked the 15th such summit held in Isle of Man, Gibraltar, and Malta and was the 8th to be held locally.
While many jurisdictions have faced challenges and adversity over the last year or more, Isle of Man’s eGaming sector continues to thrive and grow. One reason is the focus of international network coordinators and event organizers like KPMG with offices in the self-governed Crown dependency. Some of the overriding concerns addressed at this years’ summit included diversity, social responsibility, and regulatory changes, while technological innovations shared a prevalent place in the spotlight as well.
Isle of Man’s Chief Minister the Hon. Howard Quayle MHK (pictured) began the summit with a welcoming address. He had this to say: “The sector is an outstanding example of how innovation and diversification have sustained our economy into a remarkable fourth decade. I would like to thank KPMG for hosting this extremely successful event, year on year.”
Panel sessions and presentations were held in the Villa Marina Royal Hall, which still maintains the opulence and importance imparted there when it first opened in 1913. Workshops were also held concurrently in the Broadway Cinema throughout the event. During the summit, the audience interacted with participants by answering questions on various eGaming topics through the Bizzabo interactive app once again this year, and then shared and discussed poll results.
Malta, Gibraltar, the UK, and the Isle of Man were the four key gaming territories to receive attention in jurisdictional updates. The Isle of Man saw licenses for the year jump from 37 to 44 signaling increased interest and confidence in the jurisdiction. One of KPMG’s local representatives, Russell Kelly noted the Isle of Man’s importance among all peers when he said: “A strong new business flow and steady growth among the larger, established operators on the island, makes us a very viable option, of all the offshore territories.”
Social responsibility was the key theme in the morning with topics such as The Economics of Consumer Behaviour and the Gambling Sector; Fairness and the Consumer; and Next Steps for Harm Minimization in an Online World being presented. John Hagan of Harris Hagan spoke about Responsible Gambling Week coming in October and the Remote Gaming Association’s Fiona Palmer provided an update on the RGA’s GAMSTOP project.
Media outlets have tended to paint the gambling landscape in darkened tones lately and Responsible Gambling Week plans to bring together government, operators, and gambling action groups in order to help promote responsible gambling and lend some positive light to conversations around the subject.
The International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL) presented highly focused masterclasses on the Regulatory and Political Climate for Gaming in the UK and AML. Marketing strategies for affiliates as well as “Innovation in Payments” were on the agenda in two breakout workshops that were well attended.
Lydia Barbara of Microgaming both fascinated and inspired delegates with a penetrating look at tech innovations and initiatives. KPMG’s Advisory Director, Micky Swindale navigated the sometimes confusing realm of gender diversity in the workplace setting compass points that led participants to understand and appreciate the moral, talent, and customer business case for embracing inclusiveness. Her presentation was titled #WeAllWantToPlay. She highlighted the well-researched correlation between diversity and performance in the boardroom and beyond, but also noted, “For many, the absence of diversity in business leadership is a clear signal that our wealth creators just don’t get it.”
A representative for one major local operator commented on the importance of all the social responsibility topics covered and spoke of the theme that seems to be emerging from increased awareness and discussion; that of the customer being at the “very heart of our industry,” and the need for a more holistic approach to be taken by industry, action groups, and legislators to enable the processes needed.
The Hon. Minister Laurence Skelly MHK, promised in his closing remarks: “We are striving to become an island of innovation, integrity, and excellence. Here, at government, we will support the industry however best we can, to fulfill that goal.”
While far removed from the extravagant gala awards shows, worldwide operator exhibitions, and conventions that draw tens of thousands annually, events such as KPMG’s Isle of Man eGaming Summit are pivotal and focus delegates’ attention on key issues affecting the industry at large and locally wherever they are held.
In a media release today, the Netherlands-based Swiss Cooperative professional services firm founded in 1987 but with roots going back to 1818 had this to say: “KPMG would like to thank its many sponsors for their generosity and support at this year’s summit, including Continent 8 Technologies, the Isle of Man Government, SMP Compliance Academy, Manx Telecom, Wiggin, NewField, FeatureSpace, MuchBetter.com, GBG, Capital International and IMGL Masterclasses. Special thanks from KPMG goes to iGaming Business, the World Casino Directory and Gambling Insider.”
As part of our responsibility in service to the industry, World Casino News partners with important event organizers large and small in key jurisdictions all over the globe in an effort to promote understanding and foster cooperation between regulators, operators, marketing partners, and others whose participation is vital to a healthy gambling industry on land and online.