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Cyprus Blocks Access to 2,500 Gambling Websites
- November 29, 2016 By Nemanja L. -
Cypriot authorities have started blocking unlicensed gambling websites as the country edges closer to introducing a new gambling legislation, it has been revealed.
Online casinos, poker sites and exchange betting are all forbidden under the Betting Act 2012, but residents of the country were able to access international gambling websites as there was little to no control from the authorities.
However, that looks set to change as the government has decided to expand the gambling market in an attempt to improve tax earnings, and the first steps have already been made.
Back in October, the National Betting Authority (EAS) has started to accept applications for new online sports betting licenses, while at the same time making it clear that all other operators risk being added to the country’s blacklist.
The EAS has now blocked the web domains of over 2,500 gambling websites that appear to be offering their services to Cypriot residents without a valid license.
Cyprus Wants New OPAP deal
At the same time, the Cypriot government aims to revisit the agreement with Greek gaming operator OPAP as they believe they are missing out on substantial payment each month.
Namely, under the 2012 agreement, OPAP holds a monopoly on online sports betting in Cyprus, paying €10 million per year for a preferred treatment.
However, after seeing OPAP’s revenue increase considerably in 2013 after the official launch of a new Kino game, the Republic of Cyprus wants a bigger slice of the pie.
Even though, they are currently being paid around €12.3 million, it is believed that the old agreement is seeing them lose €1 million each month.
It is, therefore, hardly surprising that the government is proposing a new deal that would see the lottery provider charged with 24% tax on gross revenue, whereas a minimum payment per annum would be €20 million.