In late November, a decision came from Cyprus to ban online gambling in an effort to reduce domestic crime. The initial announcement suggested that the gambling ban would be put into place by the end of 2010. The plan has been put on hold due to intervention by the United Kingdom and Malta.
A draft of new Cypriot gambling laws was sent to the EU for review in September. The official reply is forcing Cyprus to clarify several points of the new gambling bill, which will push forward its implementation by three months or more. Both the United Kingdom and Malta reviewed the draft and sent opinions to EU decision makers, and now Cyprus believe the two rival gambling jurisdictions have purposefully derailed Cyprus’ attempt to ban internet gambling.
“The interventions and comments by Malta and the United Kingdom were made purposely as online gaming is licensed in both countries and they receive huge amounts of money for those licenses,” said the chairman of the House of Legal Affairs Committee.
Loopholes in local gambling laws have allowed internet gambling in Cyprus to grow tremendously popular. The government wants to ban online casino gambling and poker, but intends to leave internet sports betting alone. Cyprus is frustrated by the setback, but intends to push forward with their plans. Further feedback from the EU is due on March 14, provided Cyprus can make the requested changes and clarifications to their proposed gambling laws.