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IN-DEPTH 14 December 2015
Maintaining the momentum
Susan O’Leary, who took over as the States of Alderney’s director of e-commerce in August, outlines her plans for the new role
By David Cook

What did you learn about the gaming industry in your time as part of the e-commerce and i-gaming team at law firm Collas Crill?
I joined Collas Crill six years ago at a time of real change in the e-gambling industry. We built tremendous relationships with operators, licensees, service providers and lawyers in other jurisdictions. It is a close-knit sector and we were at the heart of what was going on.

Why do you think you have been selected to be the States of Alderney’s director of e-commerce? What qualities will you bring to the role?
As a lawyer I represented some of the world's leading e-gambling operators and service providers, including many of Alderney's licensees. I have a detailed knowledge and understanding of the market and have strong relationships with the Alderney regulator (AGCC), local operators and service providers as well as with those around the world. For many years I represented my former employer on Team Alderney (a pro-active group of corporate service providers), helping promote the jurisdiction. I am hard working, straight talking and I recognise that Alderney offers something very special.

Part of my role is to spread the word, so I will be attending various industry events and arranging meetings with a huge range of stakeholders
What targets have you set yourself in the role?
Alderney is a well-regulated but commercially realistic jurisdiction. It is very important we maintain this position and look at new areas to develop into. We have to keep the innovative edge that sets us apart from other jurisdictions. We are first-movers and wish to continue doing so. My goal is to keep this momentum!

What are the biggest challenges facing both yourself and Alderney?
I believe there are great opportunities for an innovative jurisdiction like Alderney. However, the real challenges will be to continue delivering pragmatic and effective regulation while helping existing licensees’ businesses to grow. Keeping up with technological developments can also be challenging in a fast-moving digital industry. It is also important that we continue to develop new relationships, built on those we already have with governments and authorities around the world for the good of players and licensees.

The press release announcing your appointment said you will concentrate primarily on promoting the jurisdiction as a centre of choice for i-gaming operators. How do you plan to achieve this?
Part of my role is to spread the word, so I will be attending various industry events and arranging meetings with a huge range of stakeholders. Promoting the jurisdiction will be a pleasurable experience and I am looking forward to meeting as many people as I can.

How has the UK’s point-of-consumption (Poc) tax and licensing regime affected the number of the industry’s operators/providers basing themselves in Alderney? How is Alderney reacting to this?
Most Alderney e-gambling companies were UK-facing at the point when PoC regulation and taxation were introduced. At that time a large majority of these companies applied for UK licences, resulting in them holding both an Alderney and a UK licence, as an Alderney company is not allowed in law to conduct e-gambling in another jurisdiction without holding an Alderney licence. Therefore, the introduction of PoC legislation did not have a huge impact on the number of licensees.

Furthermore, the AGCC has a good relationship with the UK regulator and is working closely with the UK to minimise unnecessary duplication of regulation and regulatory costs.

Why should an operator/provider base their operations in Alderney as opposed to other offshore destinations?
The AGCC has struck a perfect balance between strong, pragmatic control and the commercial requirements of operators. We host most of the major e-gambling service providers from Europe and the UK as well as US operators. These businesses supply vital technical services and have driven the growth in Alderney. We also have strong relationships with other regulators around the world, which is very attractive as this gives operators access to new markets.

Tax is important too. There are many licensing authorities taxing at the point of consumption so there are real advantages to being based in Alderney. Not being in the EU is a factor as licensees with a place of establishment outside the EU are not subject to VAT or other indirect taxes.

Alderney and Guernsey are great places to live and work too. There is a hugely skilled workforce, great beaches, excellent restaurants and a crime-free environment.
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