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Player protection

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission regulates most forms of gambling in the Isle of Man, which includes both land based and online operations. As a body, it is statutorily charged to ensure that gambling is conducted honestly and fairly, remains free from criminal influence and exploitation and does not cause harm to the public interest, individuals and families. However for the avoidance of doubt, please note that the player protection principles of the Commission do not extend to third party payment providers engaged by licence holders.

Funds Protected

On the Isle of Man we make sure that all licensees have a system in place which fully protects all player funds. This means that any deposits or winnings you have with an island regulated gaming firm are secure and can be enforced by law.

Consumer Protection is important to the Commission. Players who gamble with operators licensed by the Isle of Man benefit from a number of protections. One of these is the way players' money is protected. In order for an operator to obtain a licence in the Isle of Man, it must agree to protect players' money. Players' money is classed as deposits plus winnings plus any bonuses that have been earned. Players' money must be protected by a mechanism approved by the Commission. Currently, five mechanisms are approved.

The first mechanism is a bank guarantee. A bank guarantee is agreed between a bank and the operator. If the operator cannot pay its players then the bank does so. Licensees ensure that their bank guarantees can cover the value of player funds to be protected.

The second mechanism is a trust fund. A trust is an arrangement defined in a legal document – a trust deed – which controls how money enters and is paid out from a bank account held by the trust. If the operator cannot pay its players then the trust deed allows money to be taken from the trust and paid to players. The trust deed does not allow money to be taken from the fund for other purposes such as paying for rent or advertising costs. The trustees – the people responsible for administering the trust – may pay themselves a small administrative fee from the trust and may move money out of the trust that is in excess of the players' funds.

The third mechanism is a Client Account. The Client Account is a bank account that is held with a bank that meets the Treasury Department's approval criterion:

Regulation 3(1) of the Online Gambling (Participants Money) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 requires the Treasury to specify additional criteria to define an 'overseas deposit-taking institution'. 

Within the context of the Regulations, Treasury accepts that all banks that are regulated by a financial authority, other than the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission, in third countries and territories where the jurisdiction is in good standing with FATF and BASEL regulatory standards, shall be considered acceptable as an 'overseas deposit-taking institution'.

Under the law, any money that is held in the Client Account is considered to belong to players. This means that if the operator cannot pay the players and the bank has been told that the operator is in difficulties by the Commission then the bank will only allow money to be paid to players from that point onwards. An operator who is not in difficulties and who has money in a Client Account in excess of players' funds may move the surplus money out of the account.

The Commission undertakes quarterly checks to ensure that the value of the money held in these mechanisms matches the value of player deposits. It also conducts random checks to detect any shortfalls.

The fourth mechanism is an insurance-based solution which provides for a sum to be paid to the operator in the event of a default situation, that sum being at least equal to the sum of funds owed to players. Each such solution must be approved by the Commission before it can be used as a protection mechanism. This mechanism can be combined with other fund protection mechanisms provided the sum total of protection at any given time is equal to those funds owed to players.

The fifth option is a 'suitable vehicle' which is an entity that meets the following conditions:

  • An Isle of Man based and FSA regulated investment firm, regulated as a collective investment scheme

  • A fund that is cash fund (unless insurance is in place to cover risk of loss)

  • Low risk investments which must be Moody's A-rated or equivalent and held with deposit taking institutions in the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, UK or Ireland

  • All funds are held in GBP (so as to remove foreign exchange risk) or, where player balances are not GBP, the investment shall be in that currency

  • Funds are accessible due to daily dealing

  • Management fees are taken from interest and not capital

Where the target investment vehicle is a portfolio of one or more money market cash funds, the credit ratings of those funds must be AAA and each fund in the portfolio must not be smaller than £5bn. If a money market cash fund's credit rating is revised, then it may not be used until it re-obtains its AAA rating, and players' funds in that market must be returned to the operator or moved into another AAA rated fund as soon as practicable. The licensee is ultimately responsible for ensuring the credit ratings of the funds are AAA and for withdrawing or reallocating them in the event of a change in credit rating.

The Commission also requires that if its operators suspend or cease operations, all players are contacted and their money is returned.

These mechanisms are not just theoretical; they have been tested a number of times and the Commission has never received a complaint from a player who could not obtain their money.

Independent Testing

All operators must have the games they offer independently tested by an external testing facility, approved by the Gambling Supervision Commission, to ensure their mechanisms are fully random and therefore fair.

Ongoing Reviews

The Commissions' functions in respect of the interests of the player also include reviewing the ongoing marketing and advertising activities of licensees, and continually monitoring all policies in respect of player protection and under-age gambling.

Complaints Procedure

First of all, you should contact the licence holder about your grievance. If you are dissatisfied with their response and have exhausted all avenues with them, you can contact the Commission by completing our complaints form (which must be in English). 

Most complaints are as a result of a misunderstanding between the operator and the player. Please ensure you have fully read the Terms & Conditions of the operator and that your complaint is a valid one. If you still feel it is, then the Commission will investigate on your behalf to ensure that you are being treated fairly at all times. 

Any investigation is based on the information received from the player, with documents provided to support their complaint. The Commission will then contact the Designated Official of the Licensee, requesting their response. The investigation process includes the collation of all information from the player and the licence holder. 

Please ensure you provide your full name, contact details, account username, name of the operator, full details of your complaint and include all relevant correspondence there has already been, between yourself and the operator, concerning the matter.

The outcome of the investigation is determined by the evidence and the facts presented for each individual case.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q How do I complain about a gambling advertisement?
A If you have a complaint about a gambling advertisement, in the first instance you should contact the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority).
Q I disagree with the way one of my bets has been settled - what should I do?
A If you are unhappy by the resolution offered by the licence holder, there is an independent arbitration service called IBAS which will offer impartial adjudication on any dispute.
Q Can the Commission get me my money back?
A The Commission will offer guidance and recommendations, but has no power to order an operator to return stakes which have been freely placed and have been deemed to have been fairly lost. Deposits that have not been wagered and actual winnings, are legally enforceable however.
Q What happens if the operator has not dealt with complaint properly?
A If you are dissatisfied with the way a licensee has dealt with your complaint, you can report to the Commission about their failure to operate a suitable complaints process.

Once you have asked the Commission to help you with an issue, we will acknowledge your complaint and establish whether an investigation is necessary. If an investigation is considered appropriate, we will keep you informed of the progress and outcome of all enquiries.

Watch List

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If you would like to know more about player protection in the Isle of Man, please contact the Gambling Supervision Commission on +44 1624 694331 or email

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