Cyprus Parliament Votes To Ban Online Gambling

Published Saturday, July 07, 2012 -

A recent article published in the Cyprus Mail revealed the results of the parliamentary vote on online gambling in Cyprus. The members voted unanimously to ban online casinos and exchange betting. The betting exchange section of the bill was reinstated after debate and was also passed by a reasonable number of members.

The new legislation requires legally sanctioned betting to continue with a proposed tax on net betting revenues. Profit is the key here in so much as net tax is after any pay outs are removed from the equation. Wagering service shops will be required to contribute an additional 3 percent on net gains to be given to a new to be established Gaming Board.

This Board will redistribute its funds to the Cyprus Football Association, other sports associations, and to special programmes dedicated to reducing problem gambling. The bilateral agreement between Greece and Cyprus which allows OPAP, the lottery and games of chance provider, to operate in Cyprus will be exempt from the tax regime. There has been wide spread violence connected with the gambling bill including arson and attacks on the OPAP organization.

Cyprus politicians are happy to see the bill passed which has been debated at length for over a year. House Legal Affairs Committee chairman Ionas Nicolaou, commented, “From this day we are handing over to the prosecuting authorities and the state the tools to combat this phenomenon,” The chairman continued to explain that what he consider to be corruption among law enforcement that unlicensed gambling firms were profiting during the debate on the law. House President Yiannakis Omirou asked the authorities to act on implementing the new law “to remove this cancer form the bowels of Cypriot society”. Nicolas Papadopoulos, House Finance Committee chairman said that even though the law prohibiting online gambling is now passed people will continue to use online gambling sites in the privacy of their own homes.

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