Jersey, the southernmost of the British Isles, is the largest of the Channel Islands, and the latest of the Isles to begin the process of regulating internet gambling with the formation of a three-person "shadow" commission.
The shadow commission is called such because there is no current legislation for the establishment of a formal governing body. This shadow commission is tasked with creating that legislation and drafting a framework by which an internet gambling commission could come into being. The three-member Commission is led by Graham White, who has been chief inspector for the UK equivalent.
Chris Evans of e-commerce hosting business Foreshore said the new commission will be vital for building on the Island's success in e-commerce. "A number of companies from around the world have shown interest in establishing an internet gambling presence in Jersey but have been put off because the necessary strong regulatory framework wasn't in place. 'This move will show the Island is serious about entering the world gaming market and intends to be a jurisdiction of excellence," said Mr. Evans.
Assistant Economic Development Minister Alan Maclean said the commission will also be tasked with ensuring gambling does not become a source of crime and disorder and that programs are introduced to protect underage gamblers and help deal with addiction. "People can already participate in remote gaming at home by using computers, phones, through digital television and so on. There are no guarantees these existing operators are scrupulous. We have an opportunity to establish a regime that will offer protections to players," he said.
Deputy Maclean also pointed out the States voted in March last year to create a gambling commission as a precursor to online gaming. "Law drafting time has been allocated for next year and a new law granting specific powers to the commission is likely to come into force in 2008. This will be followed by a new gambling law and until that time the commission will have a purely advisory role," he said.
Applicants for the role of commissioner will have to be whiter than white. 'They will be expected to demonstrate a high standard of integrity, impartiality, transparency and objectivity," said the Deputy.
Other European island states such as Gibraltar, Aldernay and the Isle of Man already have regulated internet gambling, and are host to several prominent poker and sports betting sites. Jersey government officials hope to use this new regulation to capitalize on the multi-billion dollar industry that internet gambling has become.