After months of waiting for a decision, the Cypriot cabinet has approved a controversial draft bill that will ban almost all types of online gambling.
Seven years in the making, the draft law was presented to the government on Tuesday and if passed will get rid of unclear provisions under existing law that has seen the online gambling business on the island become “a social wound.”
Well those are the words of deputy government spokesman Christos Christofides who will be down the hospital checking all the wounds for himself before long, if the law gets through.
The draft law, which has already been roundly criticized by the UK, Malta, and a Cypriot lawyer, bans all online games including poker, roulette and slot machines. Sports betting and lotteries will be permitted to anyone aged 18 and over.
Here is where the problem lies though. Surely, by eliminating some of the “wound” and leaving other parts of it to develop gangrene it’s not going to make much of a difference to the problem. Obviously, a fine of €170,000 and five years in jail for those breaking the laws might be a deterrent but if the gangs operating are criminals, it’s not likely they’ll give a toss about continuing to operate using brute force.
Tax is the one part of the draft that is fairly solid, with the new rate of 3% on revenue looking a lot more favorable than the French system that a few European countries seem to feel might be a good book to be singing from.
Most countries unsure whether they want to allow iGaming have taken an approach of allowing one type of gambling while banning all other types. Y’know, just to appease everyone. Just ask Neville Chamberlain how that system worked out.