Cyprus To Grant First Casino Licence Within A YearAugust 1, 2014 4:00 pm
Back in 2007, a Cyprus government sponsored report estimated that the Eastern Mediterranean island could expect to collect around €50 million ($67m) each year in government taxes from a casino industry. The figure is a significant amount considering the country has a GDP of just $23 billion and a year ago had to request a €10bn ($13.9bn) bailout from the EU and IMF.
Consequently, the cabinet approved a plan to build a single super-casino resort on the island with two smaller branches in other areas, which would also have the added benefit of boosting the already 2 million tourists who visit the island paradise each year. That dream has just taken a step closer to reality after the government said on Friday it aims to issue its first-ever license for a casino resort in the south of Cyprus within 12 months. Commenting on the situation, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides, said:
“Procedures are going ahead fast and the government’s aim is to select and license the operator of the Integrated Resort Casino in less than a year from today. This will be one of the most important infrastructure projects in Cyprus in coming years.”
The license will last for 30 years, whilst granting its holder a 15 year period in which no other casino license will be issued. The casino industry will subsequently be regulated by a national gaming authority, with the casino resort allowed to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and available for those persons aged 21 and above. As of yet, however, it remains unclear when the country’s first casino resort along with its multitude of restaurants and other recreation areas will actually open.
In contrast to the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus in the south, however, Northern Cyprus has around 20 casinos spread out across its territory. Nevertheless, the so-called KKTC is a land unrecognized by any other country except Turkey, which invaded Cyprus in 1974 and currently continues to occupy the Northern part of the country with the help of 40,000 mainland Turkish soldiers.