There have been many changes in Cyprus online gambling laws recently. Cyprus was once the hub of all online gaming activities in Europe. A number of international betting sites were registered under the Cyprus Gaming License.
But there was a severe anti-gambling legislation passed in 2012, in the aftermath of the global economic crisis, which put an end to that. The country stopped issuing any new licenses to online gambling sites for a while. But in 2016, new laws on online gambling were introduced in Cyprus which were more permissive for online casinos.
Gambling Laws in Cyprus
Gambling laws in Cyprus are decided by the National Betting Authority. The National Betting Authority had a licensing period for one month at the end of 2016, during which gambling operators from around the world were invited to apply for a Cyprus Gaming License. Not many were able to get the license, but those who did were more than happy about it.
The National Betting Authority has the power to put people who place bets at unlicensed casinos or bookmakers in Cyprus behind bars, but this law has not been enforced even once so far. The authorities in Cyprus are pretty relaxed about it. There are actually many unlicensed casinos operating out of Cyprus. But it is best to stick to those that are licensed, to avoid getting into any trouble of any sort, legal or otherwise.
Cyprus Betting Laws of 2012 and 2016
The Cyprus Betting Law of 2012 enforced strict restrictions on online gambling in the country. Before the law was passed, Cyprus was a popular online gambling destination. But that changed in 2012 after the passage of the Cyprus Betting Law, which banned all sorts of international gambling except for some sports betting sites. Some of the restrictions were removed by the Cyprus Betting Law of 2016. Many online gambling operators were given the license to operate in Cyprus. They were charged a fee of €30,000 for one year or €45,000 for two years for the Cyprus Gaming License.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Cyprus
Yes, online gambling is legal in Cyprus, as long as you stick to the licensed providers. The law does not specifically target individual players, but it does state quite clearly that it is illegal for online casinos or betting shops to operate in Cyprus without a proper license.
There have been reports of the authorities in Cyprus targeting certain gambling demands, but no individuals have been arrested for gambling. Authorities would rather go after illegal gambling operators rather than after players.
Making Sense of the Online Gambling Laws in Cyprus
To understand the online gambling laws in Cyprus, one has to discuss the politics of the island. Cyprus is a very complicated place. It is divided into two different countries. The southern part of the island is controlled by Greece and is called the Republic of Cyprus. The other part of the island is under Turkish control and is referred to as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The online gambling laws discussed here are only those that pertain to the Republic of Cyprus, or the south side of the island. The Republic of Cyprus strictly disallows physical casinos, while the northern part of the island controlled by Turkey has nothing against them. In fact, there are over 20 physical casinos in the northern half of the island.
There is hence an intense competition between the jurisdictions that govern the two halves of Cyprus to see which gets more revenue from the online businesses that operate there. To be safe, you should only gamble at sites that are authorized by the Cypriot authorities.
Since Cyprus is under the influence of the Greek and Turkish authorities, you shouldn’t expect to be given too much leeway by them if you are planning to start an online gambling operation in either of the two halves of the island. Neither the Greeks nor the Turkish authorities are known to be friendly to online gaming sites. The online gaming laws in both Greece and Turkey are quite restrictive.