he idea of regulated online sports betting isn’t exactly new to Cyprus as plans have been in the works since 2012, according to a report on Calvinayre.com. Back then, the government was counting on a Greek operator called OPAP to run the show.
While OPAP was ready and willing to helm a Cypriot sports betting monopoly, European Union regulators weren’t won over by the plan.
They very quickly labelled the plan as anti-competitive and encourage Cyprus to come up with another plan.
The Cypriots responded by opening their sports betting monopoly to all comers and, as of this writing, a total of three operators have applied for Cypriot sports betting licenses. Government officials have said they intend to have the applicants approved and operational by the beginning of October.
Online sports betting, however, is not the only arm of the gambling world Cyprus is looking to welcome to their shores. Government officials expect to approve the country’s first regulated brick and mortar casino by the end of the year
This rush towards regulated casino gambling and sports betting is a direct result of the 2012 banking crisis that shattered the Cypriot economy. That left the government of Cyprus seeking new forms of revenue and, as is so often the case, they’ve turned to regulated gambling.
Online betting in Cyprus creates new prospects for the economy, says Minister of Finance
The regulation of online betting along with the other measures promoted concerning the betting industry will create a new significant prospect for the economy, Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades has said, as Cyprus National Betting Authority gears up to license online betting companies.
"By opening and regulating online betting and the rest steps undertaken (by the government) in the betting industry we create a new significant prospect for the economy,” Georgiades said addressing an event for the presentation of the NBA`s strategic planning.
He said the government promotes a five-pronged strategy covering the operation of an integrated casino resort, the licensing of VLT slot machines in the context of the casino license, the concession for the operation of the state lottery to a private investor, the regulation of the betting games offered by Greek OPAP through legislation and not through a bilateral agreement with Greece and the licensing of online betting firms.
"Licensing will create the conditions for new jobs and the opening of new (foreign) firms with physical presence to Cyprus, new jobs for specialized staff as well as for a more effective control, combating tax evasion and a new significant and steady flow of public revenue,” he said, adding that betting activity in general could consist an additional source of growth, jobs and boost to public revenue.
On her part Ionana Fiakkou, President of the Auhotity also said regulating online betting would constitute a flow of revenue for the state.
The Authority has recently announced it will receive applications for the licensing of online betting firms. She said the NBA will begin accepting applications on October 3 for a month whereas in November will publish a list of companies to be blocked because they have not applied for a license.
She also said the Authority will undergo a restructuring on the basis of a study to be carried out by a private consulting firm.