The visit, organised by the Manx Government’s permanent Brussels Office located in the heart of the EU quarter, enabled the Island to make the case that accelerated growth of the sector and high standards of consumer protection are not mutually exclusive. Meetings were held with the European Commission’s Directorate General for the internal Market, the European Gaming and Betting Association and the Remote Gambling Association.
Steve Brennan, Chief Executive of the Isle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission, said:
'This was an important set of engagements and I was struck by the openness of the EU Commission staff and their appetite for the type of external expertise that we are in a good position to offer, given our longstanding and successful track record in regulating this high growth sector, to marry the interests of providers and the protection of consumers effectively.'
Tim Craine, the Department of Economic Development’s Head of E-Gaming added:
'The Brussels Office was able to identify precisely the right people with whom to engage, provide access to them and offer concrete ideas for follow up which we will, together, be pursuing in the New Year, including plans for an exciting event in the European Parliament. It is clear to me that having a permanent presence in Brussels adds real value to the Island’s efforts to secure economic success for the medium to long term.'
The IoM’s e-gaming sector is going from strength to strength and now accounts for 8% of GDP and provides some 700 jobs on Island.
Patrick Bourke, the Isle of Man's European Affairs Director, summed up:
'It was a pleasure to welcome Steve and Tim to Brussels. Their visit enabled the Brussels Office to demonstrate the real added value it can bring to the Island. The EU Institutions can appear, from the outside, as a difficult proposition in terms of engagement but the reality is somewhat different. With clear objectives, the Island can make its voice heard. As I said when I was first appointed, while we need to be mindful of our relative size and negotiating weight, the Island can and should be ambitious and confident in its international dealings, including with the EU.'