Cyprus Online Gamblers Face €170,000 Fine Or 5 Years Jail TimeMarch 9, 2011 10:45 am
Online gamblers on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus are facing increased pressure from the government after it was announced a draft bill banning all online gambling would soon receive legislative approval.
Once the bill passes into law any Cypriot found gambling online could find themselves subject to a €170,000 fine, five years in prison or both.
The Cyprus deputy government spokesman Christos Christofides has described online gambling in Cyprus as “a social wound” with islanders spending around €2.5 billion a year online.
Although Cyprus doesn’t even allow land based casinos to operate on the island, the government apparently doesn’t see any conflict in interest of permitting sports betting and lottery gambling to take place. Highlighting this apparent contradiction in rules Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz commented:
“This is another example of how government takes logic out of the gambling issue. Almost every government attempts to differentiate between forms of gambling, and the reality is, gambling is gambling, and no one form is worse than another.”
Local online gambler Michael Conchitto picked up on this point and venting his frustration on the proposed new law said:
“I bet on many sporting events and I like to play poker online as well. So now I will only be able to do one legally? That’s ridiculous. I mean, what’s next, are they going to tell me I can use one type of shampoo and not another?”
If the draft bill receives approval online games such as poker, slot machines and roulette will be banned. However, lotteries and sports betting will continue to be legal but with the current 10% tax on profit reduced to just 3% of revenue in order to discourage cheating.