The government says it will step in to help staff affected by job losses at PokerStars.
We broke the news on iomtoday.co.im that PokerStars had told staff on Wednesday that it would be making redundancies in the island, citing ’headwinds over the last year, including disruptions in our key markets’.
But it has welcomed a commitment from the e-gaming giant that it will retain the island as a ’critical operational hub’.
It is understood that 80 people in the Isle of Man have been given notice that their job is potentially at risk, with 10 to go this year and others to follow over the next 18 to 24 months.
PokerStars, part of the Stars Group, employs some 450 people in the island at two sites – its headquarters at Onchan Head which it bought in 2012, and an office in Douglas.
A spokesman for the group said: ’As we’ve previously noted, our international segment (PokerStars) has faced many headwinds over the last year, including disruptions in our key markets.
’As a result, we are pursuing operational initiatives, including cost-optimisation initiatives, as we’ve done in the past, to reassess our fixed cost base and realign our costs with our global growth strategy.
’We believe the proposed reductions in head count on the Isle of Man are a component of our overall plans to position us to deliver our mid-term growth targets and long-term sustainable growth.
’Apart from the personal impact on affected individuals, today’s news will have little foreseeable impact on our overall operations in the Isle of Man, which has always been a critical operational hub for the company and will remain so.’
The Department for Enterprise (DfE) said it was aware of the Stars Group’s recent decision, which will ’lead to reductions across a number of jurisdictions including on the island’.
A spokesman added: ’While any decision by any company that leads to job reductions is never welcome, the department welcomes the company’s statement that the Isle of Man has always been a critical operational hub for the company and will continue to do so, with the company confirming that there will be little foreseeable impact on their overall operations here.’
We asked the company to confirm the number of jobs it would be cutting in the island but it has declined to do so.
Jobs at Risk
The DfE spokesman said it would ’not be appropriate for us to comment on the number of jobs which may be at risk’.
But she said: ’We understand the majority of staff are unaffected by this decision and communications have been issued to that effect’.
The DfE spokesman added: ’The department has worked closely with the Stars Group in the past through what has been a number of years of significant growth on the island and will continue to support them through their business decisions in the long term, as well as looking to assist any staff who are ultimately affected to support them in finding alternative roles.
’Our innovative digital sector and strong economy means tech skills are in high demand and we therefore would hope that those staff ultimately affected will have a number of opportunities elsewhere on the island.’
Canadian parent The Stars Group has licences or related approvals to operate in 19 jurisdictions. In November it confirmed a number of senior staff were relocating from the Isle of Man to Malta and Dublin.