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E-Gaming Ambassador Appointed 10 September 2003

The Department of Trade & Industry is delighted to announce the appointment of John Gilmore as E-Gaming Ambassador. John has more than 30 years experience in the gaming industry world-wide and has spent the last two years working as Island Director for Rank Interactive Gaming.

Johnís task is to work closely with all interested parties, public and private, to promote and advise on the development of the Island as a leading centre for e-gaming with high standards of practice and a business friendly environment. In particular, as part of his role, he will be investigating how the Isle of Man can best meet the requirements of the on-line gambling industry while ensuring that our position as a Tier 1 jurisdiction continues. John believes there are many reputable operators in the industry that can contribute positively to the Islandís economy and benefit from the prestige and security that the Isle of Man can provide.

While John will have responsibilities for promoting the industry, responsibility for applicable legislation, licensing and regulation will remain under the auspices of the Department of Home Affairs and the Gambling Control Commissioners, respectively.

Trade & Industry Minister Alex Downie, MHK, said:

I believe John is an important addition to our efforts to diversify the Manx economy. The Islandís experience with e-gaming has been very valuable. We have developed a high standard of e-gaming expertise and facilities that are applicable to all aspects of e-business. I have been impressed by the level of support and commitment from many Manx businesses and I believe this will be a very powerful force if we can better align it and support it with the Islandís legislative and regulatory environment. John will play a key role in helping to co-ordinate our efforts with respect to online gaming.

Phil Braidwood, MHK, Minister for the Department of Home Affairs said:

It has become apparent that an individual with good industry knowledge was required to help co-ordinate the Island's efforts across the many groups involved in the e-gaming industry, both public (including the Gambling Control Commissioners, Financial Supervision Commission, Customs & Excise and the DTI) and private (including licence holders, supporting IT, telecoms and payments businesses, plus legal and accounting services).

From my knowledge of John from his capacity when he was Designated Official for Rank on the Island, I believe he has the perfect knowledge and contacts to help us achieve this and maximise the economic value to the Island.

Recently much press attention has focused on the on-line casino segment of the e-gaming industry and to this end a key part of John's role will be to examine the issues that led to a number of the Island's on-line casinos leaving for other jurisdictions. Having completed this review he will be a key contributor to the development of appropriate solutions to make the Island more attractive to these businesses. John will also help to promote other segments of the e-gaming industry which are currently fairing far better than e-casinos, such as sports betting, where in the last month betinternet.com has reported rapid revenue and profits growth leading to a trebling of its share price. In addition to betinternet.com and Manx Online (IOM) Betting Ltd., the Island has recently issued 2 additional sportsbetting licences for Chronicle and Paddypower.

John Gilmore said:

The loss of Littlewoods as the last of the Islandís five live online casinos is obviously disappointing. From my initial discussions with many individuals in both the public and private sector, I believe there is a recognition that changes are needed to make the Islandís e-gaming environment more competitive internationally. I look forward to working with all key parties to help make these changes a reality.

This industry is still at a formative stage, it will continue to change and so the battle is by no means lost. As well as helping to evolve our e-casino segment, I look forward to promoting the sports betting segment, where the Islandís recent move to standardise certain betting duties with the United Kingdom now enables IOM-based businesses to market into the UK. It remains the case that the Island as a well regulated e-gambling jurisdiction appeals greatly to businesses that need to maintain a high quality image internationally.

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