New law to be passed by Cypriot parliament to impose harsher punishments on illegal gambling hosts
In recent years the Cypriot police have been playing a rather irritating game of cat and mouse with illegal gamblers and the establishments they use. Frustrated officials have noted bitterly that in some cases effective police raids have confiscated hoards of illegal gambling equipment, only for the venue to be back in business within the day using new machines.
This disheartening circumstance is to be addressed in changes to gambling laws in Cyprus being considered by parliament which are expected to be passed into law this summer. The new law introduces harsher penalties for those convicted but more importantly allows venues to be closed during cases which are pending.
The new law not only allows the establishments where illegal gambling occurs to be closed on the spot until the end of any ongoing legal case, but also the imposition of up to five years in jail and fines of €300,000 (some $410,000). With internet betting in Cyprus banned by the act of 2012 it remains to be seen if the new law will be adequate deterrent.
Officials believe so with Yiannos Lamaris, AKEL MP and House Interior Affairs Committee chairman, saying the new law would provide the police with the tools they require to fight illegal gambling. Andreas Kyprianou, an MP with the ruling DISY party, agreed the power to impose injunctions against trading will make businesses think twice before participating in criminal activity.