Small but dynamic, Cyprus has proven to be a very promising market in recent years. Find out more about the possibilities of The Cypriot Online Gambling Market from this article.
With a small population of just over 1.2 million, Cyprus is a fast growing and unique online gambling market. The focus is on betting so operators can focus on one well-regulated vertical when building their brand, this often serves as a springboard to enter the larger market of Greece . Curious to know more about online gambling in Cyprus? Continue reading.
Gambling laws in Cyprus
The gambling industry in Cyprus is subject to a very fragmented legislation with. Many forms of gaming regulated by different authorities and laws.
Casino games are regulated by the Casino Law of 2015 and are subject. The National Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission. At the moment, there is a monopoly on land-based casinos. The licensed association has enjoyed exclusivity for 15 years. Lotteries are a mixed monopoly between the state and OPAP.
And finally, betting . It is governed by the Betting Law of 2019 and is subject to the National Betting Authority (NBA). Betting is the only form of gambling in Cyprus that is not subject to a monopoly. As well as the only vertical that can be offered online. For this reason, we will focus on it in this article. Betting licenses cover both sports and non-sports events, including esports.
The licensing process for online betting was introduced in October 2016, and already in January 2017. The first licensed company began offering its services. Three more operators joined it in the first VipSlots.Eu half of 2017. As of Q2 2021, this is the latest data available. There are 12 licensed online bookmakers on the island.
Overview of the Online Gambling market in Cyprus
The online betting market in Cyprus has been growing steadily since the launch of licensed work in 2017.
In general, the GGR of the sector remained stable from 2018 to 2019 (-0.5%) and from 2019 to 2020 (+0.6%). Which indicates the saturation of the market. But while land-based betting GGR has fallen by 22% (from 2018 to 2019). Online betting GGR has grown by a solid 47%.
As has happened in other countries. At the same time, since betting is the only form of online gambling available in Cyprus. The performance of this country is especially interesting.
While in most European jurisdictions the demand for gambling entertainment came from online casinos. In Cyprus in the first half of 2020. The annual GGR of online betting increased by 31.5% – this is a truly unique situation. And under the influence of the return of sports in the second half of 2020. Online betting recorded a surge in annual GGR by another 44.1%.
The data available in the first half of 2021 shows that this trend is strengthening, with online betting revenues reaching over €31 million from January to June, representing an 87.96% increase in annual GGR and a shocking 145.5% growth compared to pre-Covid levels.
With land-based casino revenues stagnating as of Q2 2021, it seems clear that Cypriot players have moved en masse to online sportsbooks, and this paints a bright future for licensed operators.
Online Gambling licenses and taxes in Cyprus
Online bookmaker licenses (“Class B” licenses) are issued by the NBA. Prospective operators can apply for an annual or two-year license which costs €30,000 and €45,000 respectively. The renewal is issued for the same period and costs the same as the first license.
Applicants do not need to be based in Cyprus, however they are required to post a €500,000 deposit at the national bank. The paid up share capital of the company must also be at least €500,000.
While there are no monthly license fees, operators must pay a 13% tax on their GGR.
Regulation and sanctions in Cyprus
The NBA has a range of advertising and responsible gaming regulations for licensed operators, but they are not the most stringent in comparison to other jurisdictions. Advertising must be socially responsible. The main purpose of this revision is to minimize the impact of gambling advertising on minors.
The NBA publishes a list of unlicensed gambling operators on its portal and can force ISPs to block access to these sites. Sanctions range from a warning to license revocation, as well as proportionate fines and even jail time. It is impossible to offer online casino games, for this you face a fine of up to €1 million and five years in prison.
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