Alderney, A Tiny British Island, Makes $3.2M in Gambling Profits

The local authority on the tiny British territory of Alderney (population 2,141) has been given £2.3 million ($3.2 million) of 2023 profits from its Gambling Control Commission this week. And the island doesn’t have a single slot machine, let alone a casino. 

The relatively high per capita gambling income is because the island is home to dozens of online gambling businesses, which use their license as a reputable springboard to offering services in Europe. 

Although not as fragmented as it was decades ago, the various EU states mostly do not have their own gambling laws. So being licensed in one allows you to operate across the continent. 

Enter Alderney. The tiny island, much like the Mediterranean island of Malta, capitalized on this opportunity and set up an online gambling regulator in the year 2000. 

The latest windfall for the island’s independent government is up £636,000, or 27% on 2022’s numbers. 

Gambling Hub 

To put these numbers in perspective, the island’s entire spending budget for 2023 was £1.5 million. The tiny British crown dependency is one of the Channel Islands, a group of small islands in the English Channel between mainland Europe and the UK.

Out of the £2.3 million of profit from its gambling regulator, the island will see £1.85 million allocated to its general fund. Just under £500,000 will go to Alderney eGambling Limited, the public-private partnership that promotes and facilitates gambling license applications for the Commission.

In recent years, the island has had increased expenditures and lower income after the UK decided to leave the EU. As a Crown Territory, Alderney is responsible for its own finances. But it previously received grants for small communities from both the UK and EU governments. Those have both seen cutbacks since 2016. 

The rising revenues from its growing online gambling regulation service are helping to plug that gap.

Companies licensed by the Alderney Gambling Commission include Caesars Entertainment’s Harrah’s Online Poker, Flutter Entertainment’s Paddy Power, veteran British bookmaker and former Caesars partner William Hill, and Full Tilt Poker.

“We are in a reasonable fiscal position and we remain committed to looking at new opportunities to generate income,” said Alderney’s Policy and Finance Committee Chairman Nigel Vooght, speaking to the BBC this week. 

“We must also continue to make efficiencies wherever possible, whilst ensuring funding is available so that staff have adequate resources to continue to provide high quality services to the community.”

Per Capita Gambling Income 

At $1,494 per year for each citizen, that’s not a bad amount of gambling income for such a small island. Especially when it has had financial challenges since Brexit. 

However, that’s rookie numbers to the equally small Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota. The tribe of less than 1,000 members operates three large casinos in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis and Saint Paul). 

The casinos’ proximity to large customer bases otherwise starved of gambling options has made them attractive destinations. Although tribal casino revenues aren’t always clear for outsiders, the Shakopee have on occasions been open about their wealth.

In 2011, the tribe hit the headlines after it was revealed each of its residents received a $1 million yearly grant as result of its gambling operations.

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