In what can only be described as a complete 180 degree turn on government policy, Cyprus Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias is preparing legislaton for the operation of casinos in Cyprus.
Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias told the House Commerce Committee: “Many among us would probably never enter such establishments during our lifetime, but this does not mean that we should not respond to the needs of the age, taking into consideration the public interest.” – Cyprus Mail.
Indeed it is a change of heart towards casino gaming as past administrations routinely refused to consider the opening of casinos with President Christofias ignoring the fact that Greek Cypriots were spending their money elsewhere instead of spending them at casinos in the republic.
In 2009 President Christofias even went so far as to state: “There will be no casinos in Cyprus as long as I am President.”
But with the economy sputtering and budgets reeling, proponents have gathered momentum behind the notion that Cyprus cannot turn its back on a sector that could bring much needed revenues to the state coffers.
Famagusta Tourism Coordinating Committee marketing officer, Lakis Avramides described the move as better late than never: “It had to be done a long time ago. It’s never too late and we hope it will be realised soon, of course the Famagusta district will claim an operating licence for a casino to help the seasonality of the district,” – Cyprus Mail.
The feeling from casino proponents is that casinos will be necessary to help Cyprus attract more tourists. Currently, Cypriots spend millions gambling with online games as well as casinos in the north, and proponents are banking that gambling expansion legislation will keep those gambling dollars with the republic.