From independence, the Republic of Cyprus has strictly regulated the engagement in games of chance or chance and skill for money or monetary return.
However, following Cyprus’s accession to the EU in 2004, online gambling service providers licensed in other EU Member States began to operate from premises in Cyprus.
On the 11.07.2012 Cyprus` parliament adopted new legislation in an attempt to once again gain control and regulate gambling, whether this concerned online or “traditional” betting. This is, in brief, the background which led up to the enactment by parliament of the Gambling Law, Law 106(I)/2012.
This new law repeals the previous betting legislation, legalises the provision of certain specified gambling services and criminalises all games of chance. At the same time it provides for the establishment of a central National Betting Authority (“NBA”). The NBA`s mandate will be to:
• prepare and submit for approval to the Ministerial Council regulations dealing with every aspect of on premises sports betting and online sports betting; and
• examine applications, approve, license, audit and control the prospective betting shop and online betting operators.
The new legislation has been criticized as heavy handed in that it not only provides regulation but goes one step further and prohibits on-line and casino gambling.
It is expected that the new law will be challenged at the European Court of Justice for providing restrictions on the freedom to provide services within the EU.
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Pekris & Theodorou LLC is a Cyprus law firm with Cyprus lawyers and other legal experts on legal matters involving Cyprus law, EU law and international law. The above should be used as a source of general information only. It is not intended to give a definitive statement of the law and is subject to the disclaimer.