Police pledge to get tough on gambling
POLICE YESTERDAY warned betting companies and gamblers that the new gambling bill recently passed by parliament is now in effect and will be implemented without delay.
In a released statement, police highlighted that many provisions in the new legislation provide for penalties of up to five years in jail and/or a €300,000 fine.
The new law makes possession and/or operation of devices for the purposes of running an online casino illegal, while also prohibiting the advertising of illegal gambling.
Criminal responsibility now lies not only with those owning or running gambling joints but also the gamblers, said the police.
“We urge all those involved in illegal gambling to comply immediately with the provisions of the existing legislation. Otherwise, they will suffer the consequences of the law,” said the police statement.
“The police force is determined to speedily enforce the law against those who fail to comply.”
Earlier in the week, police chief Michalis Papageorgiou said the force “expected much more” from the new legislation banning online gambling despite the fact it gave the police “plenty of firepower”.
The controversial legislation, recently voted through parliament, has effectively banned all online gambling in Cyprus while also heavily taxing existing betting shops.
Gambling shop owners have strongly protested against the bill, arguing the law will put them out of business, while providing an unfair advantage to the Greek state-owned betting agency OPAP, which is exempt from all these laws due to a bilateral agreement between Greece and Cyprus.
Many believe the string of recent attacks against OPAP betting shops come as a result of this legislation.
According to international media reports, the UK gambling group Betfair has threatened Cyprus with legal action stating that the legislation passed by the Cypriot parliament contained “serious flaws and, in some areas, is inconsistent with European Union law”.
Parliament unanimously passed the bill regulating gaming on July 6 after months of debate. Apart from banning online casinos, the law also regulates legal betting, providing for a ten per cent tax on the net betting revenue - after winnings are subtracted.
In addition betting shops will pay an additional contribution of 3.0 per cent on net revenue, which will be paid to a gaming board to be set up.
The board will then transfer the contribution to the Cyprus Sports Federation, which will allocate 1.5 per cent to the Cyprus Football Association, 0.5 per cent to other sports associations, and 1.0 per cent to special programmes dedicated to fight gambling addiction.
(Source: Cyprus Mail)
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