Betting in Cyprus
In 2012, Cyprus introduced the Betting Law 2012, as amended in 2019 (the ”Law”), which regulates gaming in Cyprus and covers both land-based betting activities as well as online betting activities. Gambling at online casinos in Cyprus is illegal and punishable by law. Online sports betting is the only form of online gambling allowed in Cyprus, although betting on horse races is not allowed.
The supervisory authority for all gambling and betting activities is the National Betting Authority and all prospective gambling operators who wish to operate and provide sports betting services in Cyprus must apply to the National Betting Authority for a licence.
There are two forms of betting licence:
Class A. This regulates land betting services provided within physical premises, excluding Class B services and horse racing.
Class B. This regulates online betting services excluding slot machines, online casinos, and so on, to the limited extent that they are permitted.
In order to receive a licence from the National Betting Authority, the interested party must incorporate a company in Cyprus with its main activity being the conducting of betting activities. An overseas company with a branch in Cyprus is also eligible to apply for the above-mentioned gambling licences. In both cases, the issued and paid-up share capital must be at least EUR500,000.
Licences are issued for one or two years, and may be renewed on application, subject to the approval of the NBA. The NBA can suspend or revoke a licence in the event of failure to comply with the Betting Law 2012.
For a Class A or Class B licence, the licensee must pay a fee of EUR30,000 for one year and EUR45,000 for two years. An authorised representative of a licensee must pay EUR2,000 for one year and EUR3,000 for two years. The fee is payable with the initial application or application for renewal. If rejected, 75% of the fee is returned.
Further the National Betting Authority requires the applicant to demonstrate the following:
- That it has sufficient resources to pay the players' winnings.
- That it has adequate accounting and control systems.
- That it can comply with regulations for the protection of the players.
Restrictions: The performance of electronic betting in Class B is regulated under Part VI of the Betting Law 2012. The licensee can electronically register as a player a person submitting an application for registration and must include various personal information regarding the player. The player must be over 18 and informed of the conditions and the procedure for carrying out bets, including the fee payable to the licensee. The licensee maintains in electronic form a secure list of all players registered, including their details and an account for each registered player in which the amounts received from the player, as well as the amounts due to the player, are credited. The account is maintained for five years after the last transaction and can be closed with the approval of the National Betting Authority.
- Confirmation that they player is over 18 years old;
- Identification of the player;
- Address of the residence of the player;
- Valid email address of the player; and
- Declaration that the player has been informed for the terms and the way of conducting the bet, including the remuneration to be possibly given to the Class B licensee.
- Cash transactions are not allowed for electronic bets.
- Gambling bets on Class A premises can be paid with cash or debit/credit cards.
- Gambling providers must not accept any bet from a player unless they are satisfied that there are sufficient funds in the player's account.
- Gambling providers must maintain a valid bank account at an authorised banking institution operating in Cyprus.
Under the licensing regime, approved online sports betting operators pay an effective tax of 13% of gaming revenue which consists of 10% of net revenue, 2% to Cypriot sporting bodies and a further 1% to fund responsible gambling initiatives.
Obtaining an online gambling licence is a complex procedure involving a variety of due diligence requirements that need to be met. All legal online gambling business must be registered and licenced and be in compliance with the local law.