Cyprus’ new online gambling industry law will punish offenders with hefty punishments as they attempt to regulate the industry. Cyprus Mail reports that offering gambling services could land you with a ten-year stretch behind bars and a fine of up to €500,000. Players that partake, whether it be in their own home or elsewhere, face five years in jail and a fine that could total €170,000. DISY MP Ionas Nicolaou said: “There will be a continuous war to locate these webpages that will be placed on a register.”
For those not familiar with Cyprus’ recent online gambling industry history they revealed a draft bill in March that aimed to ban all online games including poker, roulette and slots, whilst allowing sports betting and lotteries. Those plans drew the ire of a number of EU regimes including the UK and Malta. Reasons given were that the number licensees were limited, there was no clarification on how customers would pay and the EU claimed it discriminated in favour or certain firms – namely Greek monopoly provider OPAP. The proposed tax rate of 3% on revenue was better than a number of other recently regulated countries but it overshadows other parts of the law that the EU can’t agree with.
As well as this, the current proposal will ask ISPs to block certain sites and punish those operating legally that breach rules with fines that are equally as heavy. Discussion of the bill will finish on Monday and then we’re assuming it’ll get sent off to the EU for them to pore over it for a few weeks before “discussing” all its faults.