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.
If you asked most gamblers what their ideal destination would be, you would probably hear obvious choices like Monte Carlo or Las Vegas. However, as we’ll see, Cypriot casinos have much to offer and Cyprus should be the at top of the list of world-class casino locations.
Why choose Cyprus? There are over 30 registered and regulated casinos in Cyprus, mostly located in the Turkish region in the North of the country. Cyprus is also building the biggest integrated casino resort in Europe. Most casinos feature slots, table games and video poker.
- The biggest planned casino resort in Europe
- Over 30 casinos to choose from across the country
There are many types of casinos with Cyprus license to visit. Cyprus casinos range from luxurious hotel-style operations integrated into resort complexes to many smaller operations situated throughout the four districts of the North. Currently, a major casino is being built in the South of Cyprus.
What to expect when visiting Cypriot casinos
The gambling industry in Cyprus has boomed in recent years, with a revenue of US$26.7 million in the last quarter of 2019. One of the reasons for this rapid growth is the many high-quality casinos that can be found on the island.
Visitors to Cyprus can expect to find a full range of modern, welcoming casinos. Players can enjoy traditional casino table games with experienced croupiers at the larger casinos, while smaller operations mainly focus on slots and video poker. If you love to gamble, you’ll love Cyprus!
- Enjoy fabulous weather, food and hospitality
- Well-equipped casinos with quality gaming
Discover the wonders of Cyprus
The first thing a visitor to Cyprus should prepare themselves for is the amazing sunny weather! In summer, the island has beautiful weather that is perfect for lazing on the many beaches. Cypriots are also just as warm and welcoming as their weather.
Alongside the friendly locals and pleasant weather, visitors can enjoy some of the very best food in the Mediterranean. Cypriot food is famed for being fresh, healthy and delicious. Casinos in Cyprus all strive to provide their guests with quality gaming in the very best Cypriot hospitality.
The history of Cyprus
Cyprus is in the Eastern Mediterranean near Turkey, Greece and Egypt. Cyprus has a rich and complex history stretching back over 12,000 years. Today, Cyprus is a divided nation with a Turkish section and a Greek section. The Republic of Cyprus officially controls the whole island.
Languages spoken in Cyprus
Officially, Greek and Turkish are the languages of Cyprus. Cypriot Greek is quite different from modern Greek, since it has been developing since the 11th century. Arabic and Armenian are also commonly spoken. Many Cypriots speak English, so UK tourists should have no problem being understood.
Casino laws in Cyprus
Cyprus introduced comprehensive betting laws in 2012 to regulate gambling and betting activities. This established the National Betting Authority (NBA), the main supervisory authority in Cyprus for all gambling-related activities. The betting law covers all land-based and online casinos operating on or accessible from Cyprus.
Although not technically legal, online gambling sites have been available to Cypriots since the country joined the EU in 2004. The law surrounding land casinos in Cyprus is also complex, with only one consortium being granted a 30 year casino resort license.
- You must be 21 to enter a Cyprus casino
- Casinos may ask for identification, proof of address and proof of employment
The importance of casinos to Cyprus
It is said that the casinos in Cyprus attracted over 880,000 visitors during the last year. This is staggering given that the country has a population of only 1.17 million people. The importance of what tourist revenue brings to Cyprus cannot be understated.
Because casino tourism is such a major factor in the Cypriot economy, the government is very supportive of the development and expansion of the casino industry. Gamblers who visit Cypriot casinos can therefore expect to be well-treated by locals and staff alike.
Different types of Cypriot casinos
The casino industry in Cyprus differs from other countries because of the divided nature of the island. Visitors can expect to find major resort-based casinos and also other so-called ‘satellite’ casinos. These casinos are regulated by the government and are legal entities.
Within the border zone – called the Blue Zone – controlled by the UN, there are some illegal casinos and gambling houses. These enterprises are not regulated by the government and authorities often find it difficult to police them due to the complex legal nature of the Blue Zone.
- Cyprus has both legal and illegal casinos
- It is not recommended to visit an illegal casino
How many casinos are there in Cyprus?
Visitors to Cyprus wishing to gamble will find plenty of choices in the north of the country. Northern Cyprus currently has around 30 casinos, with most located in the seaside area of Kyrenia and a few in the coastal areas of Bafra and Famagusta.
High rollers can find premier five-star casinos located in Bafra, Catalkoy and Central Kyrenia. The south area of Cyprus has fewer casinos, but there are still a few satellite casinos located in Limassol. A major casino resort is planned to open in 2021 in southern Cyprus.
What currencies are accepted in Cypriot casinos?
Euros are the official currency of Cyprus. However, once again, the separated nature of the country makes currency a complicated issue in Cyprus. Because most of the casinos are located in Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus, many accept Turkish Lira, with a few also accepting US dollars.
Is it safe to gamble in Cyprus?
Cyprus is a safe country with low levels of crime. Since licensed and legal Cypriot casinos are tightly controlled by the government, players should feel confident and safe when gambling. However, when visiting any of the illegal casinos in the Blue Zone, players may be taking risks.
Code of conduct in Cypriot casinos
Legal casinos in Cyprus must adhere to strict government regulations. Players wishing to visit must also conform to each casino’s code of conduct. Although these regulations may vary, there are a few general rules that apply for all casinos operating legally in Cyprus.
Firstly, players must be at least 21 years of age to enter a casino in Cyprus. Dress must be smart-casual, with no coverings over the face. Any person who is intoxicated or carrying a weapon will not be allowed entry. Borrowing money from other players is prohibited.
Pros and cons of Cypriot casinos
There are many reasons to visit Cyprus for a gambling trip. The many legal casinos are well-appointed, regulated, five-star establishments with a wide range of table games, sports betting and slot machines on offer. Players can feel safe and enjoy great food and warm weather.
On the negative side, many people may find the divided aspect of the country confusing. Players that mistakenly wander into an illegal casino risk being ripped off or having their money stolen. However, the attractions of Cyprus more than make up for the downsides.
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.