In the Republic of Cyprus, online casinos are prohibited, but land-based gambling is legalized and sports betting is allowed in offline and online bookmakers. Two different and independent organizations regulate the gambling industry. They issue licenses, control the operation of institutions, are responsible for collecting taxes and deal with players complaints.
Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission review
Gambling in the Republic of Cyprus is developing rapidly. Although in fact its legalization was made only in 2015. The financial crisis of 2012 contributed to this event, which resulted in a fall in GDP in 2013 foreshadowed by 13%. At that time, the government began drafting a bill to legalize land-based casinos. There were also opponents of the adoption of this law in the face of the Church, however, legalization took place.
Revenues from the gambling industry are substantial and at the end of 2017, it was proposed to create a casino resort. In 2018, a competition was held, during which the winner was revealed. The first integrated casino resort is currently scheduled to open in late 2021, combining a high-quality hotel with a casino, conference center, entertainment shows, theme parks, luxury shopping, and fine dining.
Anyway, the industry should be regulated, so Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission were established in 2017. The regulator is responsible for licensing and regulating casino operators and employees working in the casino industry, including equipment suppliers and manufacturers.
Note that online casinos are prohibited on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. Of all types of gambling entertainment, only sports betting is allowed online.
Regulation and licensing of this direction (betting) of gambling business is engaged by the organization National Betting Authority created in 2012. Along with Internet betting, land-based bookmakers are allowed.
For this reason, there are actually two organizations involved in the regulation of gambling in the country. Basically, this is quite pragmatic and provides an opportunity for faster development of both directions. For example, in 2018, the NBA was already considering legalizing land-based Bingo halls. This gives us confidence that in the near future online casinos will be legalized.
In addition to their direct duties, regulators are engaged in the protection of players (social responsibility). On the official websites of the organizations, there are thematic sections where players can find useful information and sites for assistance to combat gambling addiction. In their social work regulators adhere to the basic principles:
- Education of society and stakeholders
- The promotion of responsible gaming
- Prevention and control of gambling addiction
- Protection of youth and vulnerable social groups from gambling addiction
License types of Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission
On the territory of Cyprus gambling in land-based casinos and sports betting on the Internet is allowed. Licensing is handled by two companies the Cyprus Gambling Commission and the National Betting Authority.
The Cyprus Gambling Commission is in charge of licensing land-based casinos. In addition, employees of gambling establishments must undergo licensing, and it is also necessary to obtain licenses for slot machines and types of gambling.
License types issued by the Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission:
- License casino – gambling license to open a casino.
- Licence Casino Employee – license of a casino employee. Issued to employees of the casino or staff involved. For example: dealers, staff with access to the closed premises of the casino.
- Casino Key Employee license – license of a key casino employee. Issued to the staff of the institution, who are authorized to make personal decisions governing the activities of the institution. For example managers, security, management.
- Supplier license – license for manufacturers or suppliers of slot machines (or parts thereof) or software.
- Test Services Provider – licensed companies that are engaged in testing of gaming equipment (slot machines).
- Junket operator – licenses for companies that organize gambling in the format of "junket tour".
- Junket tour – for a certain number of high rollers organized private entertainment event, such as travel during which everything will be free, players agree to just play throughout the event.
- Junket representatives – licensed representatives of "junket" format companies in the casino.
- Gaming Equipment – certified gaming equipment, the application for a license can be submitted only by companies with a Supplier license.
- Casino Games – an application for certification of a particular type of gambling game is submitted by the operator (casino), for the possibility of placing this game in the institution.
The fee for consideration of license applications ranges from 200 to 10 000 Euros. As taxes charged a fee of 10% of the net income of the institution. And paid a mandatory tax of 3%, which goes to the Cyprus sports Federation and to carry out activities to protect the public from gambling and help addicted players. Each year, operators pay a fixed fee from 2000 to 45 000 Euros, depending on the type of license obtained.
Currently, Cyprus has already issued gambling licenses for land-based casinos. An international competition was held for the placement of gambling establishments in the casino resort ICR. The competition was won by Integrated Casino Resorts Cyprus Limited (ICRC), which includes the Asian company Melco Resorts & Entertainment. Ltd and Cyprus company Phassouri (Zakaki) Ltd (part of CNS group).
As of 2019, the following land-based casinos operate on the island: in Limassol, which opened on 28 June 2018, as well as four related casinos in Nicosia, Larnaca, the free district of Famagusta and Paphos.
The national betting authority is in charge of licensing online sports betting.
- CLASS A – licenses for sports betting in land-based offices
- CLASS B – licenses for online bookmakers
Companies pay 30,000 Euros for a "type A" license and 45,000 Euros for a "type B" license for consideration of the licensing application. In case of refusal to grant a license, the fee is refunded minus 25%.
Cyprus gambling Commission at the legislative level regulates the process of regulation and work with complaints of players. Each land-based casino should develop a mechanism and forms of treatment of the player. The casino itself must notify the licensee of the dispute.
The national betting authority gives players the opportunity to file a complaint against the operator via the feedback form or by sending an email to the regulator. Players will need to provide their personal data, describe the situation and confirm these facts with screenshots (if available).