The first Isle of Man-licensed online casino has gone live. SunOnline on Thursday launched Casino Atlantis, ushering in a new era of regulated online gaming.
Critics of online wagering have argued that Internet casinos do not do enough to block ineligible players and that money laundering is rampant in unlicensed offshore operations.
Licensing schemes in other first world nations haven’t been successful to date, but Isle of Man licenses may be the first step in minimizing or even eliminating most of these problems. And these licenses may open the door for other reputable jurisdictions to offer their own licenses.
The new casino is part of the Bahamas-based Sun International Hotels conglomerate that was responsible for the Sun City and Atlantis developments in South Africa and the Bahamas, respectively.
The site is modeled after Sun’s Atlantis property, and promises customers “all the style and flair of Atlantis.” Software was developed by Boss Media; there are 15 games to choose from with both download/no download options. In addition to the English-language casino, there are also Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese versions of the site.
More importantly – from an industry perspective at least – there are several provisions to block prohibited players in accordance with the Isle of Man’s strict licensing regulations.
Players from Austria, the Bahamas, China, Germany, Sweden, and the U.S., among others, are banned from playing at the site, as are players under the age of 18.
Other stipulations of the licensing agreement include reviewed payouts and Togel Hongkong games that are independently tested for fairness. PriceWaterhouse Coopers and Technical Systems Testing handle these jobs.
There are also provisions to protect players. The most important of these is a £2 million (~US$2.9 million) bond set aside by each licensee to guarantee payouts to the winners.
SunOnline CEO Tobin Prior told Net Imperative, “It is the only online casino that boasts similar standards of regulation to those required for the operation of a traditional casino. We spent more than a year developing the technology behind the innovative processes designed to limit underage gaming, credit card fraud and play from illegal jurisdictions.”
Sun is one of three gaming companies that were issued these precedent-setting casino licenses last September, but it holds the distinction of being the first to gets its casino up and running.
Littlewoods Leisure and MGM Mirage, the other two license recipients, are expected to launch their own casinos before the end of this year. The Isle of Man government plans to issue another nine licenses in the near future.
All three companies are hoping that their long-standing reputations in the land-based gaming world will transfer over to the Net and enable them to take a large chunk of this multi-billion dollar pie. They aren’t likely to be disappointed.