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Cyprus Heads for Online Casino Ban

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is reported to be a host of a shocking large number of online gambling operators which also has their online casino portals. Online gambling has flourished much on the island with its expedient internet connectivity. Land casinos suffered a shortage and more and more Cypriots are hooked on gambling on international and local websites. Gambling in Cyprus reached the tune of €2.5 billion in 2008, enough to create a worry to the government.

The rapid rise of online gambling business in Cyprus had become a “social wound”, according to the words of the Deputy Government Spokesman Christos Christofides through the Associated Press. In an actual sense, online gambling is regarded to be legal by exclusion. In agreement with Ionas Nicolaou, the parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee Chairman, electronic gambling’s illegality is covered by the legitimacy provided by the Internet where no authority is designated to require a permit.

The Cyprus Government has been in a constant chase to amend the worsening situation. Nevertheless, the free movement of commercial exercises implemented by the European Union among its member countries fostered a real hindrance. Gambling laws of Cyprus was amended last 2007 in the light of meeting the EU requirement, but had failed to do so. Portugal did get an exemption from the free trade policy on the ground of inhibiting crimes. Cyprus in turn has learned to pattern Portugal’s contention in the hope of a parallel exemption.

The government of Cyprus is continuously making tangible measures to ban some particular forms of online gambling. The Cabinet has already drafted a bill that targets the gradual elimination of online gambling. However, it is still calling for a legislative approval. If happened to be approved, it will be an outright law that will ban online gambling of poker and casino games. Gambling will be limited only to lotteries and sports betting by people over the legal age of 18. Yet, these two gambling formats have an awful setback. The usual 10% tax levied on profits is replaced by only 3% tax on turnovers. The tax on turnovers is considered infeasible and is opposed by operators and representatives of online gambling in all of Europe. The new bill, if carried successfully, will impose castigatory actions such as a five-year imprisonment or a fine that can reach up to €170,000 or both. Salute for the government of Cyprus.


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