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Casino revenues could help fill government coffers

The Finance Ministry has prepared a proposal for licensing a number of high-quality casinos in Cyprus, according to documents presented by the Greek-language newspaper Politis.

IN RECENT times there has been much talk of licensing a number of casinos in Cyprus; Larnaca’s old airport terminal was one possibility and the mayor of Paphos is keen to have one in the town.

The four largest municipalities in the Famagusta district presented their joint plan for a modern multi-purpose complex that would include a luxury casino at a news conference last Friday.

In 2009 President Christofias declared that: “There will be no casinos in Cyprus as long as I am President,” adding that “Casinos are expression of corruption and can create a crisis to the system”. But in a remarkable U-turn last October, the government announced that it was considering the possibility of allowing the operation of casinos on the Island.

Now it seems that the Finance Ministry has put together a set of proposals for up to five ‘high-quality’ casinos, preferably in the tourist areas.

According to documents presented by the Greek-language newspaper Politis, each licence would cost €100 million and the target would be to secure €500 million by the end of the year to help fill the government’s coffers.

We understand that the Finance Ministry’s proposal calls for an independent casino supervisory authority to be established and a strict legislative framework.

Whether any projects will get the go-ahead in the foreseeable future is unclear as the subject has yet to be discussed in parliament and legislation will have to be drafted and agreed.

We await further developments.

Readers' comments

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  • Denton Mackrell says:

    All of the concerns raised in comments here, plus those raised elsewhere, are valid. However, from my experience in Far East the elephant in the room that not even the politicians are mentioning is the attraction casinos here will have for international organized criminals. They will swoop in and take over the casinos one way or another and the existing law enforcement here (which is geared for tackling quite different kinds and scale of crime) will be no match. The will corrupt any and every official, police officer, lawyer, politician etc they can – and the ones who refuse will probably be eliminated. They will bring in money laundering, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, people trafficking etc on a scale beyond the capacity of our police to combat. Think Mexico.

    Only a permanently dedicated and well equipped and trained police and anti-corruption task force might have a chance of beating them. That’s how Hong Kong did it.

  • Mike says:

    Just goes to prove that there are no morals, ethics, values or common decency amongst our illustrious political leaders. We will change our moral high ground if there are 30 pieces of silver in it for us.

    Knowing what reckless and irresponsible gamblers many Cypriots are, who is going to pay for the thousands of families with no money or assets once the husband has called off into the casino on his way home from work on pay day and lost his wages, house, car and land. I guess selling the wife, children or organs is all that will remain as an option to fuel the habit. Be prepared for the worst but at least revenue will remain in the republic rather than in the occupied area coffers as is the case now.

  • Adrian says:

    It would nice if Cyprus Government did something positive. I suppose it all depends the cost of a licence to operate. I have taken a gamble since I bought property and so far have not won anything.

  • Adrian says:

    I can’t wait for the first casino to open if President Christofias keeps his side of the deal. Maybe Cyprus can then move forward.

  • Peter says:

    It’s a bit like buying a villa in Cyprus. A bit of a gamble. But are they even stakes?

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