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Parliament approves casino bill

Legislation passed by a majority Cyprus MPs at the plenary session of parliament earlier today paves the way to the operation of a casino resort in Cyprus after many months of discussion.

Cyprus casinoA LAW to regulate the establishment, operation, supervision and control of a casino resort in Cyprus was approved by a majority of Cypriot MPs earlier today.

MPs voted by 29 in favour to 22 against to approve the law, a key part of the government’s plans to stimulate the island’s economy, with most of the no votes coming from opposition Communist party AKEL.

The law approves the establishment of one major casino and four smaller satellite casinos, three of which will be limited to gambling machines. It contains several changes to the original proposed bill; a credit ban on players, it will not be built on government-owned land, Cypriots wishing to gamble will have their tax file checked before being issued with a special licence to play.

We understand that the minimum requirement for the casino resort is 100 gaming tables and 1,000 machines.

Opposition from the Greek Orthodox Church and concerns expressed by many Greek Cypriots about the dangers of gambling have prevented casinos being established in in the past. Six years ago former 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”.

Nicosia is expected to invite expressions of interest from major casino operators from Las Vegas and Asia next month.

The winning bidder for the 30-year license will choose where to build the casino and the government hopes it could be open by 2018 if everything goes smoothly.

Readers' comments

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  • Phil Mawer says:

    Good Luck Cyprus !! Personally I think this is the very last thing your economy needs right now. I applaud the ban on credit and the check on tax files (if it REALLY is followed through) but far from bringing money into the local economy gambling actually sucks it out. Gambling is a leisure pursuit that depends on disposable income in the same way that restaurants, clothes shops, bars, coffee shops, car dealers etc. With the economy in the state it is right now, I just cant see that there is that much disposable income around and now you are going to throw in this other opportunity. Yes there is the tax going into the government coffers and yes you can get into your car and drive to the North and gamble but problem gambling is all about accessibility and being able to quickly react to an urge. If that means you just need to log online (not possible in Cyprus) or drive 5 minutes to the local casino you are going to fulfil that urge every time.

    In regard to tax revenue if you take the UK figures the very least amount of problem gamblers there are (taken from a now defunct survey in 2010) is 450,000 (the real figure is close to 4 million. Each problem gambler costs the state GBP 8000. Do those maths and the costs are far great than the tax revenue earned (in the same way treating smoking related illnesses in the NHS far outweighs the tax revenue from tobacco).

    Phil Mawer (long time resident of Cyprus now living in Spain)
    Author of the best selling “Overcoming Gambling)

  • Sue says:

    Here come more crooks, the Russian Maffia will love this !!

  • houlou says:

    @Nigel, indeed Nigel have no doubts about them being a shrewd bunch, what’s more depending on how strict the controls/checks are on those being able to gamble, it will attract the locals and stop them popping over to the ones up north…hope it pans out for all involved.

    Whatever happened to the 3-4 billion euro Geroskipou plans in the end? or was that just hot air like the Qatari (non) investment in Nicosia?

  • Deanna says:

    Oh dear, the Arch. won’t like it………….

  • @houlou on 2015/07/10 at 12:01 pm – The American casino operators are shrewd businessmen – they will not be fooled by exaggerated claims. I’m sure they’ve done their research thoroughly and have a very accurate projection of the numbers of people and the amount of money they will make from the casinos.

  • houlou says:

    Lakotryppis says ‘they’ are looking to attract between 500,000 – 1 mill extra tourists a year …..hmmmm will have to be one hell of a resort to do that I say….good luck to them,,,,,

  • Stuart says:

    The idea six years ago that it’s casinos that are the expression of corruption and create a crisis to the system, now seems a little naive in the light of what we all know about life in sunny Cyprus.

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