December 01, 2016

Cyprus to review OPAP lottery deal and start to ban online gambling sites

The Cyprus government now well into gambling following the decision to license the first casino resort earlier this year have now followed this by readying itself for the commencement of online sports betting with the National Betting Authority (EAS) preparing to block some 2,500 online gambling sites offering services to local players.

At this week’s House finance committee’s meeting the EAS said they were in the process of blocking those sites that were not operating in the guidelines of the 2012 governments legislation towards online poker, online casinos and sports betting, which are all currently banned.

In October this year the EAS started accepting license applications from online operators towards offering online sports betting and wanted to clear the operators who were not currently in the process and offering online gambling to Cypriots.

Also at the meeting the committee discussed the current agreement with Greek lottery firm OPAP which MPs said was costing them €1 million a month in lost tax revenues. OPAP and the Cypriot government signed an agreement in 2003 with OPAP paying €10 million a year in taxes to offer lottery services to players. That agreement seems to be coming to an end and the government is currently preparing new legislation that will offer the lottery service to a a lottery operator who will have to pay 24% tax on gross profits for a specific period of time and under specific conditions.

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