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Cyprus is reconsidering OPAP monopoly de...

Cyprus is reconsidering OPAP monopoly deal

Published on November 30, 2016

Earlier this year Cyprus took a decision to license the first casino resort. This has been now followed by preparing to block unauthorised online gambling sites as the Republic of Cyprus is getting ready to launch its regulated sports betting market.

At House finance committee’s meeting the National Betting Authority (EAS) stated that they are in the process of blocking some 2,500 unlicensed online gambling and betting sites offering services to national consumers. The sites to be blocked are not operating in the guidelines of the 2012 government’s legislation towards online poker, online casinos and sports betting which are currently forbidden in Cyprus.

Such actions are granted by the Cypriot Finance Committee. Last month the EAS started accepting license applications from online sports betting operators. The goal now is to create fair market conditions for those that have applied for licence and clear the operators that are not taking a part in the process, but offer their services to Cypriot gamblers.

At the same meeting the committee discussed and reviewed the current agreement with Greek lottery giant OPAP, which gives this betting firm a monopoly on lottery number games in Cyprus and also costs Cyprus €1 million a month in lost tax revenues, as MPs said.

OPAP has been operating in Cyprus since 1969. In 2003 the Republic renewed an interstate agreement with Greece agreeing that OPAP will pay €10 million a year in taxes to offer lottery services to players.

The new legislation being prepared will ask for a double yearly fixed contribution with an additional 24% tax on lottery gross profits.