Controlled by the Greek authorities, the southern part of Cyprus is looking forward to the opening of the first casino on its territory, and the reason for such dreams was the official statement of the government, in which it committed itself to issue the first license to operate a casino within a year.

The Greek half of the island has been getting along with the categorical ban on the organization and conduct of gambling by the authorities for quite a long time, but endless economic instability began to force the government to find effective alternative methods of providing the state’s economy with long-term financial injections and creating new jobs for the country’s citizens.

Cyprus map

In the northern part of Cyprus, controlled by the Turkish authorities, several highly profitable casinos feel great, to which hordes of Greek Cypriots who go north to indulge in gambling are regularly drawn. In view of the outlined situation, the ruling in the south of the island, representatives of the Conservative Party decided to take a step against which, all the time in power, their predecessors from the Communist Party lay dice, despite the strong interest from foreign gambling operators.

A spokesman for the Greek government, Nikos Christodoulides, highlighted some extremely significant details related to gambling legislation, namely: the principle clause that no matter who of the applicants received the announced license to operate a casino, the validity of which is 30 years, but the licensee will have exclusive rights only for 15 years, and he will also have the right to decide where, geographically, the casino complex will be located, in addition, the right to a round-the-clock operation of the institution, seven days a week, is provided. It should also be noted that the gross income of the gambling operator will be subject to a 15 percent tax.

Nikos Christodoulides

Finally, the proposed legislation and regulations provide for the strict implementation of all EU directives, such as those related to the fight against money laundering.

“This will be one of the most significant infrastructure projects in Cyprus in the coming years,” said Mr Christodoulides.

The legislative bodies of the state will carry out all the coordination measures on this bill as soon as possible, so that it can finally come into force by April 2015. "All legislative procedures in this particular case are carried out at an accelerated pace, but, here, the government of the state has a more ambitious goal: they need to select a worthy candidate and issue him a license, and it takes less than a year to do this," summed up Mr. Christodoulides. As soon as the draft law is fully passed the approval procedure, the government will immediately start developing the parameters for the two-stage tender and the process for selecting the licensee. 

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