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Cyprus to Legalize Casinos Within a Year
- August 4, 2014 By Oliver Young -
According to Reuters, Cyprus, particularly its southern area, expects its first ever land based casino after the government has announced that it would give a casino license to an operator within a year.
The part of Cyprus that is controlled by the Greek regulators has had a ban on gambling for a long time. With the economic crisis that is still plaguing the country, it was a matter of time to find an industry that can produce financial gains in long term as well as create new jobs for its residents.
The northern part of Cyprus that is controlled by the Turkish officials has a couple of brick and mortar casinos and a lot of Greeks that live in the south of Cyprus regularly go north to gamble. The conservatives that rule the south are doing what their communist predecessors have long been opposing even though there is a big interest from offshore casino operators.
It is believed that if a casino is built in the southern part of Cyprus many of the economic needs would be addressed. The move opens new doors and it is expected to attract foreign casino operators that would like to invest a lot of money to gain a casino license and make their presence in the Greek-controlled Cyprian gambling industry.
The Details of the Bill
Nicos Christodoulides representing the Greek Cypriot government emphasized some of the details of the bill the government is preparing. He pointed out that whoever wins the30-year casino license will have exclusive rights for 15 years. The casino operator will also have the right to decide the location of the casino property and can operate the casino 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In turn, the operator will be taxed 15% of gross income.
Christodoulides also noted that all EU directives will be implemented toward the proposed legislation and regulations in order to fight money laundering. “The casino will be one of the most important projects in Cyprus in the following years,” said Christodoulides.
Nothing Will Stand in the Way
The legalization of casinos is expected to generate opposition from some people, especially those that believe that any form of gambling is undesirable in the country, both socially and morally. However, this won’t stop the House of Representatives from passing the proposed bill into law.
Reports say that the government will push forward with the bill that it is expected to become a law by April next year. “The procedures for granting a casino license move forward at a fast pace and the government expects to find a casino operator in less than a year,” said Christodoulides.
Once the bill is passed, government official will announce the details of a two-stage bidding and selection process.
On the other side, online gambling in Cyprus used to be unregulated but quite popular among its residents. Then the government passed the Betting Act in 2012 regulating sports betting and lottery, while banning the other forms of online gambling including online casino gaming such as playing roulette or slots.