Cyprus Government To Ban Online GamblingJuly 28, 2010 7:04 am
The Cyprus government has just drafted a new bill which is designed to put an end to online gambling on the Eastern Mediterranean island.
Since the Betting Law was amended in 2007 to be compliant with EU regulations, Cypriots have been spending around €2.5 billion a year on online gambling.
However, the Cyprus government which doesn’t even permit the operation of land based casinos on the island now believes the flourishing online trade has become a scourge which is adding significantly to the social problems in Cyprus.
As a result, they are now taking steps to remove internet gambling from the betting services allowed under the ‘Betting Law,’ and, as Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis explains:
“It would be an oxymoron to legally allow the operation of dozens of online casinos in Cyprus in the shape we have today and not allow the creation of a real casino. With this decision the government remains consistent with its initial position that it is against the creation of (real) casinos and online casinos for social and other reasons.”
Under the new bill, online games such as poker, roulette, and slot machines will be prohibited. It also suggests the establishment of a gaming board which will permit online sports betting operations, providing a state license has been approved first.
“A percentage of the total betting conducted in Cyprus will come to the state as a tax revenue,” continued Stavrakis. Despite not yet ascertaining the exact tax level, it is generally thought the amount will be probably be around the 10% level.
The introduced bill received a unanimous vote in the Cyprus parliament, and will now have to receive the approval of the European Commission before entering into law.