In Europe, online gambling is seen in contrasting ways by many of the governments that populate the continent. A lot of the member states see it as an excellent way to generates funds in the tough economic times, whereas others clearly see it as a problem that is better left in the dark cave where they believe it belongs. These people have obviously never had the opportunity to attend one of the iGaming industry’s parties.
Cyprus looks like it’s joining this room 101 of countries that have decided online gambling isn’t for them.
In the past observers have described the issue as being a “cock-up in government policy,” back when they were thinking about ISP and credit card blocking. Now it looks like they might have gone some way to working out a more concrete solution.
The Mediterranean island is currently awaiting a response on their proposed gambling bill from the European Commission. The bill, if it’s approved, will outlaw all online casino based games such as roulette, poker, and slot machines. It will provide licenses for strictly controlled sports betting, customers only allowed to use cash bets placed using a credit card or e-account thus making it simpler to track transactions.
“I think we can expect the Commission to get back to us in December,” Attoney General, Petros Clerides, told Cyprus Mail.
In addition, establishments failing to pay their tax dues will be shut down until ensuing court cases are completed and anyone applying for a license will need to apply for a bank guarantee.
It will also see the creation of a gaming board to regulate betting in the country.
Clerides continued: “We need to convince the European Commission that the ban is in the public interest and that it adheres to the principle of proportionality, as under the EU acquis you cannot, except under certain circumstances, prohibit the provision of services from one EU member state to another.
“We also argue that the ban is intended to combat criminality and to protect the consumer. I think we will be persuasive,”
This is reflective of the problems that the island and online gambling is currently experiencing in relation to criminal activity. As we reported earlier this week, criminal gangs are operating illegal online gambling sites, many residents opting to use these over the legal ones.
The weird thing about all of this though is the government’s insistence to still offer legal sports betting whereas other are banned, and if the problem is with illegal sites what is stopping them from continuing to operate as they are at the moment?
Are poker and casino betting really that much more scary to your everyday Cypriot than sport betting?
It will be interesting to see if the European Commission actually allows this to go through, the Cypriots are confident it will end up as law, and be implemented straight away though. This may well be another example of the no fun Police having their way, but at least they can still bet away on sports and watch as much pornography as they want to – for the moment anyway.