Cypriot Casino License
For anyone looking to expand their non UK gambling business to Cyprus, before they can do so, they will need a Cypriot Casino license. Laws pertaining to the legalisation of sports betting came into effect back in 2012. The National Betting Authority (NBA) is now responsible for all licenses, auditing and applications for both on and offline sports books.
While sports books are now regulated, casinos and poker sites are still illegal, with the NBA taking quick action against, and blocking, any unlicensed websites available to Cypriot players.
How to obtain a Cypriot Casino license
There are two licences available in Cyprus. The Class A is for land-based venues; Class B for online. When it comes to finding out how to obtain a Cypriot license, it’s actually relatively straight forward, although a little expensive.
For starters, to ensure that the operator is financially stable, a capital of 500,000 EUR is required (the license costs 30,000 EUR annually). The company must also be incorporated in Cyprus. The registrant must also give detailed descriptions of the games after which, and only then, can the license be formalised.
Benefits of a Cypriot licensed casino
There are a few benefits with a Cypriot licensed casino. One of these is the level of taxation the business will be subject to. This is rather less than found in other jurisdictions. For Cyprus, online sportsbooks will be required to pay 10% betting tax on the overall revenue, which is paid to the Cypriot government.
This applies for Cypriot bookies operating in the UK as a betting site not on Gamstop as well. In addition to this, there’s a 3% tax on total revenue paid to the NBA. The license also ensures that there is strong player protection. In fact it has more player protection than most other licenses.
Risks with Cypriot Licensed casinos
As with all sites there are some risks with Cypriot licensed casinos. For example, the licensing, while offering better protection to players, does not have such a high level of reliability as other licenses. One of the biggest risks with playing at a Cyprus-registered casino is that the regulator has a very low profile.
This means that there is very little information available on how the NBA handles any complaints against the casino under its jurisdiction. Similarly, there’s not much info available on how to submit a casino complaint in the first place. Althtough it is not very common, there is still some non Gamstop casinos operating on a license from Cyprus.
Additional issues with Cyprus casinos
The biggest issue with a site registered in Cyprus is that it can only operate as a sports book and nothing else. This means that there is a risk if operators try and add in casino or poker games to their repertoire. These sites can’t even have horse racing on them as this is also illegal under Cypriot law. There’s also the fact that the license allows sites to accept US players. Given the laws governing US players, most top-rate casinos will avoid accepting US players, indicating that Cypriot standards may not be the best.
Additional requirements for licensing
One of the strangest things about this license is that it does not permit Cypriots to play on the site. Players outside the country are permitted to play, although they must be over the age of 18. The sports book must also have some of its hardware, preferably the client database, held on a local Cypriot server in order to pass the Permanent Establishment Requirement necessary for the license. However, the country does offer up a number of reliable hosting service providers that the business can use.
Getting a Cypriot Casino license is a relatively straight forward process. It can actually take as little as a month to turnaround once all the processes are complete. The pricing structure of the license is on a par with many others too, but with the rather lower standards employed (as outlined above), many online operators will not feel that this price is worth it. Especially as the license only allows for the casino to operate as a sports book (but horse racing is not permitted) and not as a full casino. For gambling companies who wants to apply for a non Gamstop website with a Cyprus license, you must first apply through Cyprus Gaming.
There are also many additional rules to the license, such as companies needing to have 500,000 EUR in capital in place, and that the hardware of the online site must reside in Cyprus. It is rather telling, in fact, that the license is not greatly utilised within the online gaming world, with top level operators choosing to license themselves elsewhere. However, the tax is lower than it is in other jurisdictions, but this really doesn’t outweigh the rest of the issues that are prevalent with this license.