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The Isle of Man is a small island located between the U.K. and Ireland, which in spite of its small size and population, of only about 85,000 people, it plays a pretty prominent role in the world of online gambling and with online poker in particular.
With such a small population base, it certainly isn’t known for its domestic gambling regulation, but it licenses many online gambling sites, including PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site by far, and also now licenses their sister online poker site, Full Tilt, ever since it was bought out by the company that owns Poker Stars.
The Isle of Man’s very well run gambling regulations is at least partly responsible for the fact that Poker Stars survived the U.S. government’s attacks of Black Friday, while other poker sites, including Full Tilt, did not.
The Isle of Man’s licensing and regulations are considered among the finest out there if not the very best in the world. The operation, run by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, is totally world class, and is particularly known for its very effective mechanisms designed to protect players. (1)
The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission goes all the way back to 1962, and it was originally set up to supervise gambling on the Isle of Man itself, in spite of the fact that its reach is currently a global one, and almost all of the gambling that it currently oversees occurs off the island. (2)
So the original intention of the Commission was to protect gamblers and their winnings, and that’s exactly what they still do, only the scope of the operation has been greatly expanded in the last few years.
A lot of the appeal of online gaming companies being licensed in the Isle of Man and being located there not only has to do with the high quality regulation they provide, the fact that they are a very tax friendly jurisdiction factors into this heavily as well, as well as their close proximity to the United Kingdom.
In spite of their close connections to the U.K, and the fact that they are a U.K. dependency, they are entirely self governing and make their own laws including laws concerning gambling, and while the U.K. is pretty gambling-friendly, and one of the most gambling friendly countries in the world as a matter of fact, the Isle of Man is both gambling friendly and very tax friendly, which is a combination that online gambling companies find very appealing indeed.
Playing Poker In The Isle of Man
With their small population, the gambling that occurs in the Isle of Man gets very overshadowed by their international presence on the online gambling scene, and the role they play in it, but gambling does exist on the Isle of Man, and they even have a casino located there, the Best Western Palace Hotel and Casino. (3)
While the interest in poker has been pretty limited here, with the casino not even offering poker for a time, poker has seen a resurgence at the Palace Casino and they now offer it regularly, and they now offer an ongoing series of poker tournaments, so those poker players living on the island can now experience live poker once again. (4)
Of course players can also partake in online poker, and as is generally the case with smaller jurisdictions who license online gambling, online players here do not have to endure any restrictions at all as far as where they can play, nor does the government seek to interfere in any way with their doing so.
Most players play at PokerStars these days and PokerStars is headquartered here as well as being licensed here so you can certainly play there, as well as any other online poker site that you choose to play at.
So it’s not even required that your chosen poker site has to be licensed here, it’s a big task actually to try to segregate online poker players at certain sites and not one that countries have been particularly successful in doing anyway, but there’s no attempt at all here and you have all the freedom you desire in the Isle of Man to play where you want, to the delight of players there.
There’s no reason why this will ever change either, the Isle of Man Gambling Supervisory Commission has a good thing going and none of it really has to do with their own people gambling online, so they will just continue to do so at their leisure.