Cyprus' New Casinos Could Bring €50m In Taxes Each Year

Cyprus' New Casinos Could Bring €50m In Taxes Each YearThe beleaguered island resort of Cyprus is planning on lifting its age old ban on casinos as part of a series of measures to help rescue its ailing economy.
Recently, savers in some of Cyprus’ banks had to take a loss on their deposits in order to satisfy conditions for a euro zone rescue package in which the country had to raise €5.8bn as a condition for receiving a €10bn loan from the International Monetary Fund.
Now, President Nicos Anastasiades has proposed various ways in which to bolster the Cypriot economy, including a controversial decision to allow casinos to operate in the country, against the expressed wishes of the powerful Orthodox church. Up until now, only the Turkish-occupied North of the island has operated casinos, which the Greek side has no control over.
Mainland Turkey invaded the island back in 1974 and now the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus runs around 20 casinos across its territory. Despite the occupation, Greek Cypriots still travel across the UN-patrolled buffer zone that runs through the country to spend money at the casinos, but that might all change soon.
Speaking about the recent economic crisis in Cyprus, the north’s ‘president’ Dervis Eroglu, commented: “The fact that our southern neighbours have gone into this kind of crisis does not please us. This may be one of the factors that is likely to delay a settlement. It may also force our good friend Mr Anastasiades to spend all his energy on economic problems and have less time to devote to the negotiation process.”
Incredibly, Cyprus only banned online casinos and exchange betting last year, but since then the country has found itself on the brink of bankruptcy. The government is now hoping to have its first casino up and running within two years, and the new Minister of Tourism George Lakkotrypis has said that the issue has become an urgent one.
Back in 2007, a government sponsored study was carried out to determine the
potential benefits of starting a casino industry in Cyprus, with results estimating that it could bring the state up to €50 million each year in taxes.

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