Cyprus Freezes Proposed Online Gambling Legislation

Published Friday, June 11, 2010 -

According to a recent report in the Cyprus Mail online news the bill to legalize internet gambling has been frozen by parliament. It was revealed that to date there has been no proper consultation with interested parties in the preparation of a law regulating electronic gambling.
Chairperson of the House Legal Affairs Committee, Ionas Nicolaou, said, "Our aim is to complete examination of the bill by the first week of July so that it is sent to the European Commission, for approval."  The concerned Nicolaou, stated, “Unfortunately today we found ourselves faced with a new problem which no one expected.”
Non Government Organization, SAKOP, which has been stating for quite some time now that the regulated process for the preparation of the bill had not been followed by the government. The House Legal Affairs Committee has asked the state to complete the consultations within 15 days.
According to an EU directive, there must be a public consultation and an impact study on the repercussions of any proposed legislation before the preparation of any such bill. SAKOP is a group that deals with social problems and has been adamant about proper procedure, even filing a complaint with the Ombudswoman of Cyprus accusing Charilaos Stavrakis the Finance Minister of not following the Consultation Guide. The group also pointed out that no provisions have been made in the bill to help families whose members develop  gambling problems.
SAKOP said that nothing had been done to show that studies were performed before discussion of the bill. "What we have determined is that the necessary consultation with all those involved was not carried out," SAKOP said that letters it sent to authorities, “were completely ignored.”
Online gambling in Cyprus, is making over €2.5 billion a year and is regulated by the  Betting Law, which was amended in 2007 to comply with EU legislation for the free provision of services across borders.
There is a proposition to amend the law again to exclude electronic gambling from this list of services available.



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