Possible Bans on Internet Gambling in Cyprus

Total ban on all exchange and online betting activities might be announced soon

Once haven for internet gaming providers and developers, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus is about to issue a total ban on exchange and online betting. The local House Legal Affairs Committee passed the controversial measure at its Wednesday meeting after a year of attracting mixed attention.

According to Giorgos Perdikis, the Green party deputy, it would be a crime if decisions were not taken in the next 15 days as any delay would confirm claims of intertwined interests. He added that the bill affected numerous stakeholders, not excluding the political world.

“People cannot distinguish who is involved and who is not; we’re all tarred with the same brush,” Perdikis said referring to the bribery claims and allegations that the proposed law is discriminatory as it supports the Greek state gambling group OPAP.

Namely, the measure exempts OPAP from its provisions, due to the fact that the company operates under a bilateral agreement between Greece – its base – and Cyprus.

On the other hand, AKEL MP Aristos Damianou protested, asking Perdikis to substantiate his claims and stop pretending he is a populist.

“The easiest thing is to be on the fringes of politics and throw stones. We challenge all those with evidence to submit it.” Damianou said.

Recent accusations that passing of the bill was intentionally delayed have been rejected by the Committee Chairman Ionas Nicolaou, who explained that any delays were result of the needs to redefine articles in the bill.

“We would be held accountable if we allowed a law through that was full of loopholes,” Nicolaou concluded.

The House Finance Committee should now decide on the tax provisions before the bill banning online casino games, exchange betting and betting on dog races, goes for a vote.

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