Alderney, the unlikely hub of a global gaming industry

Bettors playing poker, slot machines, bingo, betting on all kinds of sports betting, are routed through Alderney from almost every corner of the world, including some cases where this activity is considered illegal.

The website of the regulator is closed for maintenance for several days, but when it works it explains to its netizens: “Alderney transmits more e-gambling traffic than any other place on the globe and it is actually much larger than the combined activity of its three European rivals (Gibraltar, Isle of Man and Malta).

The hunt of these online businesses and their servers on the islands quickly leads to frustration.The Corporation’s Registry of Companies is held at the Courthouse, which is administered by the Clerk, Sarah Kelly. It has just updated it and states that there are now 498 companies incorporated in Alderney.

According to an IMF report released in January 2011, the majority of these companies are online gaming companies. The report said: “Gambling licensees in Alderney had more than 3 million customers and were conducting transactions valued at 2.1 billion pounds in 2009.”

In many cases, the registry shows that companies have only one director, who gives an address abroad. The declared shareholder may be hidden behind loan companies.

Michael Ellen, the licensing manager and the AGCC strategy explains, “All hi-tech infrastructure has developed in neighboring countries like Guernsey. We do not have the power, the juice, the electricity to power the data centers. A report published by KPMG three years ago found that for every book brought by online gaming companies to the Alderney economy, they contribute with £ 10 to Guernsey.

In Guernsey the online gambling industry has become an important employer. One of the largest listed companies in London is Sportingbet. Robin Le Provost, who attracts gaming companies claims that the industry is now the third largest economic contributor to Guernsey after finance and tourism, but this claim can not be confirmed by those responsible for the statistics of the ” island.