Alderney is the northernmost of the English Channel's islands and the base of one of the fastest growing gaming regulatory jurisdictions in the world, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. It was founded in 2000 and covers any gambling activities that take place on the Alderney states, while claiming that "Alderney transmits more internet e-gambling traffic than any other location on the globe and is in fact much larger than the combined activity of its three European offshore rivals" (Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and Malta). Given that the isles are neither part of the United Kingdom, nor the European Union, AGCC acts as an independent authority from the UKGC and does not need to follow the EU gambling legislation. A few of the world's greatest bookmakers hold an Alderney license, such as Skybet and Sportingbet, while the equally reputable Triplebet, that owns and operates Matchbook, has its base there.
Roles and Responsibilities
The AGCC specifically state on their website that "The main objective of the Commission is to provide a regulatory environment that meets world-class standards and thereby both protects the reputation of Alderney and attracts world-class operators." Although this might have seemed a bit of a cliché on another betting authority, the AGCC take their responsibilities quite seriously and as a result, they rank among the most prestigious gambling authorities.
Besides regulating about 2000 betting sites, they offer legal advice concerning gambling to any operator, in direct cooperation with the Law Officers of the Crown in Guernsey. Regarding the players, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission guarantees the transparency between the betting companies and the bettors, while making sure that minors and vulnerable social groups, are protected.
Types of licenses and Licensing procedure
The AGCC offers various types of services, that consist of certain subcategories. These include the following:
Category 1 Licence
Category 2 Licence
Core Services Associate Certificate
Category 2 Associate Certificate
Temporary eGambling Licence
Key Individual Certificate
Getting a license is quite simple and usually takes about 6 months to complete. However, the waiting time can vary due to several technical reasons, with larger and more complex betting firms, usually having to wait a bit longer.
Each interested betting company must provide the following information on their application and agree to be subjected to certain financial investigations, while they retain their license.
A signed statement of ownership, detailing all entities with an interest in the organisation
A signed statement disclosing any past, current or pending litigation
A copy of the organisation’s most recent audited accounts/annual report
A description of work performed by the testing house in the past and major clients
A list of any relevant ISO or similar certifications that the business may have. At a minimum, the testing houses should have ISO-17025-2001 (“General Standards for Testing and Calibration Laboratories”) accreditation
Descriptions of the processes that are used for compliance testing within the business. Provide examples of test scripts, etc.
Agreement to an inspection regime whereby the testing house is visited by AGCC staff and inspected against a standard checklist, built from the ISO standard mentioned above and based on the additional expectations of the AGCC
The fees associated with earning and maintaining a license can be found on www.gamblingcontrol.org/regulation-framework/fees/. Although they are certainly not insignificant, the fact that bookmakers based on Alderney do not need to pay any gambling or corporate taxes (compared to the 15% on the UK), greatly makes up for those expenses.
Making a complaint
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission, places the needs of every bettor at the center of their interest. If you happen to encounter an issue with a certain bookmaker, you can contact them by filling in your personal information and your complaint on www.gamblingcontrol.org/player-complaints/submit-a-complaint. If your claim is valid, then the AGCC will pressure the betting company to find a solution, in most cases preferrable to you.
This however, is a result of an almost catastrophic event that took place on the baby steps of the jurisdiction. The Full Tilt Poker incident. In June 29 2011, the FBI shut down the website of Full Tilt Poker, who happened to hold an Alderney license, as they offered their services illegally to US citizens. Although this action was taken only concerning the gambling laws of the USA, further investigation proved that the poker operator acted as a major hub of money laundering and bank scheming. Additionally, their top executives used players' money on various investments, which meant that almost 350 million dollars had vanished into thin air. This was a heavy blow to Alderney's credibility, given that they offered guarantees on bookmaker-to-player transparency. Thankfully, things have changed on the Channel island and nowadays every bookie that wishes to maintain a license, is subjected to frequent financial investigations.
There are various advantages that the AGCC offer, both to betting companies and the common bettor. Bookmakers are sure to find a well respected jurisdiction who offer a good alternative to the hard-to-get UKGC licenses. Additionally, no gambling or corporate taxes are paid to the Authority, as all that a betting firm is asked to provide, are the various pre defined operation fees.
Punters can enjoy the transparency and various services that were created to protect them against scam bookies. Any complaints are instantly investigated and many times, settled to the player's satisfaction, making Alderney one of the fairest authorities in the business.
There are basically no major disadvantages on an Alderney license, given that they have shown a professional approach and an interest at standing by the bettor's side. However, the memories are still fresh from the Full Tilt Poker incident and certain players remain hesitant on punting on bookies regulated on the AGCC.
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission
St Anne’s House,
Queen Elizabeth II Street,
Telephone: + 44 (0)1481 825500
Fax: + 44 (0)1481 823978
Email: [email protected]