Temporary halt to Cyprus online gambling legislation

Procedural flaws delay e-gaming bill

Attempts by Cyprus government lawmakers to come to grips with internet gambling have come to a temporary halt due to procedural difficulties, the Cyprus Mail reports.

Ionas Nicolaou, chairman of the House Legal Affairs Committee told the newspaper this week that the process and parliamentary discussions had been stopped when it was discovered that a full public consultation had not taken place.

The interruption means a delay until after July, he said, adding that the state had been asked to expedite the consultations and complete same within the next 15 days.

The decision is a vindication of complaints by independent social bodies that the government has failed to adhere to required procedures in developing the bill.

According to EU directives, there must be a public consultation and an impact study on possible repercussions before the preparation of any bill.

One body, SAKOP, said that neither public consultation nor impact studies had been carried out in regard to the electronic gambling proposal.

The Cyprus Mail notes that online gambling is big business in Cyprus, turning over Euro 2.5 billion a year.

At present online gambling in Cyprus comes under the Betting Law, amended in 2007 to comply with EU legislation for the free provision of services.

The current proposal is that law be amended again by the insertion of a clause that excludes electronic gambling from this list of acceptable services.

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