A discussion on legislation to change Cypriot gambling laws left lawmakers confused when the standing government essentially reversed their previous hardline position of just days ago.
Law enforcement officials in have stated repeatedly that they are in favor of making Internet gambling in Cyprus completely illegal, and President Demetris Christofias promised during campaign season and since the election that he will never allow establishment of a land-based casino nor any sort of online gambling in Cyprus.
Earlier this week, however, minister of justice Loucas Louca gave an interview with a national newspaper in which he stated that he was absolutely in favor of full legalization for online casinos in Cyprus. And while parliamentarians were meeting to shape the new draft law on gambling, Louca together with the minister of finance and attorney-general were holding an independent meeting to determine government policy on gambling.
The office for the attorney-general later informed committee members that a clause stating that online gamblers would have to disclose personal financial information was to be stricken from the draft law.
Two parliamentary committees have been forming the draft bill under the guidance of the finance ministry. Once finished, the draft bill will be sent on to the European Commission for approval in meeting EU guidelines.
In the short term, it may be concluded that the Cypriot government is no longer anti-gambling but little else can be discerned. “I hope we don’t reach the end of the draft process and suddenly find that policy has changed radically,” said Cypriot House legal affairs committee chairman Ionas Nicolaou.
Cypriot Internet gambling law is defined by the Betting Law, which was amended in 2007 in order to allow future governments the ability to regulate online casinos in accordance with European Union law.