Entrepreneur Jennifer Houghton found the perfect location for her lotteries exchange business on the Isle of Man, where world-class player protections are balanced against support and investment for the growing eGaming industry.
When the idea of setting up a lotteries exchange business first came to fruition, Annexio Managing Director Jennifer Houghton identified player protection and consumer trust as two of the core pillars of the enterprise. In the bourgeoning eGaming industry, the thrill of entering a rapidly growing area had to be balanced against a relatively secure regulatory landscape – and for both of those things, finding the right jurisdiction was key.
“The industry is relatively young,” commented Houghton. “The regulation is catching up but there are still gaps. Both of these factors have led to a huge increase in the number of companies who are offering these services, and this number is likely to rise further.
“Annexio isn’t in this for a quick buck, however, and we try to stay ahead of the curve by complying with regulations that are not strictly necessary. It’s why we chose the Isle of Man: the government is already ahead of many jurisdictions in its approach to regulation, and that’s the company we want to be.”
Unlike traditional lottery models, Annexio doesn’t host the game or buy lottery tickets; instead the company facilitates bets on the outcome of lotteries from around the world, which customers can opt into online. The payouts are often very large, and the company gives their customers access to markets that would have previously been closed to them as well as more chances to win. According to Houghton, it was essential that the company’s focus on giving customers a better deal was matched by a positive government ethos.
She explained: “For any successful business model you want to keep both your customers and investors happy. Customers want to know they are getting what they pay for and that their personal information and their money is safe, and investors want to know that the business they are entering is profitable. The Isle of Man’s offering makes both of these things possible and transparent, and that’s why I personally think the potential for growth here is huge.”
This potential for growth is something Jennifer Houghton has experienced first-hand. In 2013, just two years after Annexio was established, the company saw growth of 300 percent and was declared the fastest growing the island – something she puts down to fostering slow and steady organic growth as one of the first players in the sector.
In Manx’s small business community – and the even smaller world of the lotteries exchange sector – the new CEO was further inspired to get intimately acquainted with her legal obligations by doing all the paperwork herself, knowing that she had hands-on support from the government at her fingertips if needed.
“Choosing the Isle of Man was an easy choice for us,” she said. “The Isle of Man has fantastic player protection rules, world class data hosting facilities, excellent support services (financial and legal), and political stability.
“As a growing business we especially appreciate the investment the Isle of Man has made into the sector, and it’s an investment that is working. The eGaming sector here is already the single largest sector of the Manx economy; I see no sign of it slowing down,” she added.