Our new Head of Group Business Development, Gary Harrison on eGaming in the Isle of Man and beyond.

Gary Harrison, Affinity Group’s new Head of Business Development, gives us an insight into his experience in the eGaming industry and his approach to client retention.

Affinity’s vision is to ‘grow our business organically while continuing to provide the same personal, discreet service to our clients who rely on us for expert advice that spans sectors and jurisdictions.’ Gary is an excellent strategic fit to drive Affinity’s organic growth and expand our international client base.

As Senior Account Manager at a world leading data centre, network and services provider based in the Isle of Man, the last six years have been a journey that has taken me across the globe and allowed me to develop excellent interpersonal skills and form an international network of industry peers.

Through managing a diverse client portfolio I have gained a wealth of experience and developed an understanding of the industry as a whole. Regularly attending global conferences and prestigious, international eGaming events such as ICE London, EIG Berlin, SIGMA Malta and IGB live Amsterdam, I’ve kept my finger on the pulse of upcoming trends and new technology from around the world. By nature, I’m an enthusiastic person with a thirst for knowledge and opportunity, these attributes translate to a passion for forming and nurturing relationships. Capitalizing on these skills during industry events has helped me build a network of loyal relationships that may start with that initial handshake but progress to a personable and trusting connection, lasting many years.

My move to Affinity was a natural next step; the transition from data hosting to corporate services felt familiar. The existing relationship between the data centre and Affinity dated back many years giving me the opportunity to get to know Affinity CEO, Andy Morgan on a professional and personal level. Our shared involvement within the eGaming sector forged a successful relationship, working closely on shared corporate ventures where we both were driven by the same passion for the Isle of Man as an international business centre and benefited from one another’s industry experience, knowledge and expertise.  

Over the last decade, whilst there is no doubt there has been significant growth of the Industry as a whole, the growth of the eGaming division at Affinity has been meteoric. Affinity has earned a leading position in the eGaming field and developed a well-respected reputation amongst its peers by providing excellent service combined with a competitive pricing structure. Affinity have grasped at opportunities in the sector by attending international events to establish a strong, global presence and form a loyal client base. The consistent efforts and pro-active approach over a long-period of time continue to create substantial, organic growth within the company and surged new business making eGaming Affinity’s fastest growing sector.

The Isle of Man is an ideal environment for business with unique value to offer industry; the Island is an attractive jurisdiction that is recognised as a leading international offshore financial hub, but has also been at the forefront of the eGaming sector for over a decade and home to global industry giants. The reason the Isle of Man has earned a prestigious reputation in the industry is down to its gold-standard licensing regime and first-class regulation within the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission. The robust regulation and tier one responsible gaming places the jurisdiction at a distinct advantage. The licence entails enhanced flexibility in various structures, whilst also presenting a global competitive advantage in providing access to Asia.

Affinity’s international presence means I have even more options for clients, with our well established Malta branch and the successful eGaming regime governed by the Malta Gaming Authority we have direct access for those looking to establish operations within the EU.

Alongside the Isle of Man, Malta is an attractive jurisdiction for eGaming and also presents many unique characteristics. Recently Malta has experienced a positive spike of growth within the sector and the government’s efforts to attract gaming businesses and operators to relocate or start-up in Malta has supported this.

The regulator, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) boasts a secure regulatory framework and holds an open-minded, pro-active stance on new developments and trends within the sector. An example is Malta becoming the first EU Member State to ratify legislation on remote gaming businesses. Businesses are also able to benefit from the country’s competitive fiscal structure, such as reduced rates of income taxes on personal income, double taxation relief and refunds on dividends. Malta provides a variety of online gaming licences that encompass many different types of internet-based gaming, online casino games and access to another huge market, esports. With this, Malta has seen a steady rise in license applications, both locally and over-seas in recent years.

The jurisdictions globally recognised tax regime and ideal environment for the gaming is not only attracting business and driving growth. Malta is placed in a strategic location within the EU and presents a stable economy. It is recognised as a financial hub with a prosperous business climate, attracting many High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) due to its success in the luxury asset sector where it has earned a global reputation in the maritime industry and the Aviation sector. The jurisdictions financial landscape is also ideal for HNWI to store their wealth through various investment funds and trusts.

Whilst Malta offers opportunities in gaming, our new office in the Cayman Islands provides our clients with another jurisdiction to benefit from. Cayman is internationally recognised as an offshore world leader in finance and the government have been encouraging innovation through technology in finance sector to develop its capabilities in Fintech. In 2020, Cayman introduced a new legislation on the regulation of virtual assets, titled the Virtual Asset (Service Providers) Law, 2020 (“VASP Law”) demonstrating the governments interest and support in the emerging sector. The government’s pro-active approach in promoting technology is in hope to strengthen the financial sector further and drive enhanced diversification in its offering through developments such as Blockchain. Our experience within this sector and dynamic business model demonstrates we have the agility and responsiveness to grow with this industry.

My personal approach to business goes hand in hand with Affinity’s ethos making my role a great fit. Each and every one of our individual client relationships is important and this is reflected by the bespoke services we provide. I have a hands-on approach so I can listen to the client which is essential in understanding each business model and individual requirements. Every business I deal with is treated as bespoke and also taken onto a personal level which enables me to not only grow and expand with the client but also retain their trust along the way.  Every time I attend an event, it is a perfect opportunity to seek new business, however, it is also just as important to catch up with my existing clients to reaffirm that relationship and thank them for their continued commitment.

eGaming is and always will be an industry that I love being a part of but also excited to delve into Affinity’s other sectors to broaden and diversify my skillset and client portfolio. As the world starts to open up again I’m eager to start travelling again so I can put my passion for business and networking to use in a face to face setting.

‘Gary is truly invested in his clients, he provides unparalleled support and manages each relationship in a unique and bespoke manner. Through passion and determination, Gary harnesses our ethos and personal approach to business which is a key driver of our success.’ Andy Morgan, CEO Affinity Group.