Significant changes in the legislation of European online gambling attracted gambling licenses played a significant role.
An own gambling license introduction in almost all the important continent countries was one of the main trend. The growing popularity of online bookmakers and casinos, based in such offshore jurisdictions and overseas territories, as Costa Rica, Curacao, Gibraltar and Malta gave strong incentive to it. Leonid Borodin, the licensing companies’ consultant in the gaming industry of Prospectacy LTD, analyzed Cyprus prospect as another state with its own online gambling license.
The big EU countries: United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain surely became the pathfinders of their own markets protection. These states began their own state bodies’ establishment, regulating gambling activities on the Internet and blocking market access for offshore operators from the end of the 2000’s.
The EU has left online gambling regulation at the national level due to its niche position. Therefore, outsiders appeared in the developing of their own legislation. For example, the Netherlands adopted a corresponding draft law in July 2016. It is unlikely to come into force before 2017.
Cyprus was the last one joined to this trend. This island nation adopted gambling activities regulation law back in 2012. However, the country started Internet bookmaking full regulation only at the end of 2016 due to many factors. The National Betting Authority, formed for this purpose, announced licenses requests receipt for online bookmakers from October 3, 2016.
Gambling popularity at Cyprus
Gambling is very popular among the island’s population especially it becomes clear after visiting Cyprus. You can come across a few gambling establishments like betting shops, bingo and keno halls in almost any of the main streets. The Southern part of Cyprus is controlled by the authorities, and a ban on gambling has been in force until recently. Gamblers had to cross the boarder and go to one of the many casinos in the northern part of the island controlled by the Turkish authorities. However, the ban was also canceled to attract investors and build an integrated casino resort.
Cyprus takes an interest only in financially stable candidates for gambling license.
Obviously, the high gambling popularity has become one of the factors why the legislators have set such a high bar. After all, the authorized capital demand form of € 500,000, backed by a bank guarantee of € 550,000, is much not only for the country with less than one million population. It is also 5-7 times more than in the leading jurisdictions as the UK and Malta. € 30,000 license fee for annual license and € 45,000 for a two-year is higher than average as well. It is necessary to take into account the gambling tax of 13% of gross gaming revenue on top of eveything. 10% of the tax will go directly to the treasury. The remaining 3% will be divided between the sports federations supporting funds, prevention and treatment of gambling addiction funds.
The regulator sends a clear signal for the top market leaders
It is logical to admit only the major betting operators among those. Stated requirements will not arise any difficulties for the online global leaders as well.
So is there any chance for Cyprus to attract the leading licensing operators for the country, repeating the other Mediterranean island Malta successful experience at local scale? We tend to cautious optimism on this subject. On the one hand, gambling license is limited more on the product line in addition to a high cost. Lawmakers chose to exclude not only the game-casinos, but such types of bets as spread betting, horse and dog racing betting. The regulator also indicates site use to be strictly with a national domain extension – .com.cy
The terms and conditions for the new licensees at Cyprus
Anyway, there are several important and favorable factors opposed to the insufficient ones. According to the provided data, the Commission has enough proficiency to review properly designed applications from qualified companies in a short period of time. The most optimistic terms for approval is about couple weeks, which is much faster in comparison to the other jurisdictions. NBC also doesn’t require a complete expansion of the operator’s server infrastructure in Cyprus. A single server for a regulator control is enough.
The most important advantage of Cyprus – geographic and linguistic specificity.
Greek, English and Turkish are the official languages. Thus, a Cypriot license may be the best choice for operators, oriented on the neighboring countries’ markets. Cyprus also has a recognizable position for the eastern Mediterranean region audiences from the reputation point of view. Furthermore, the emergence of officially licensed Turkish-language websites in the European Union countries can be an attractive factor for the gambling fans of a large Turkish community in Western Europe. Surely, Cyprus will not be able to issue hundreds of gambling licenses similar to Malta. Though it hasn’t been planned as it seems. Most likely, the main target is to draw an attention of couple dozen of reputable operators with sufficient liquid capital.