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Cyprus Bill to Crack Down on Online Gambling

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For years the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus has been an online gambling jurisdiction, which is to say it licenses and regulates offshore online gambling sites, but now it wants to ban its citizens from gambling online.

This week the Cyprus government approved a bill that will make it illegal for Cypriots to gamble over the internet. The reason is that the government has grown very weary at how widespread online gambling has become in the nation.

Said Cyprus Finance Minister, Charilaos Stavrakis, ‘This is a very important bill, which tries to resolve a problem that has developed into a social scourge in recent years, which is that online casinos have been created on every corner of Cyprus and anyone, young or old can basically gamble in the same way it is done in casinos abroad.’

Under the proposed ban, Cypriots will no longer be able to play online casino games such as slots, roulette, blackjack and even poker, despite being considered by many experts to be more of a game of skill than a game of chance.

However, it seems the government will still allow Cypriots to take part in online sports betting as long as the operators of the online betting sites are licensed in Cyprus. The government says it will form a gaming board to oversee this.

Stavrakis confirmed that a percentage of revenues generated by legalized and regulated betting sites will go to the state in the form of taxes. Although as yet the precise percentage that betting revenues will be taxed is still unknown.

But before it is passed, the bill will first have to go to the European Commission (EC) for approval since online betting is governed by EU laws and any change or adoption of new legislation must have its stamp of approval to progress.

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