Everyone knew it was bound to happen. Although politicians had commissioned yet another study, and the critics had listed their objections, it has been clear all along that Cyprus had no realistic alternative, but to legalize casino gambling.
With its economy in ruins, tourism remains the island’s biggest moneymaker. Boosting it by attracting casino tourists is one of the essential components for a sensible way out of the whole mess.
So it came that the country’s government approved a proposal to reverse Cypriot gambling laws that ban casinos. It will be voted on in September, once the lawmakers will have returned from summer recess.
For now, the plans are to authorize just one casino – but that one casino resort should be huge. It is expected to most of the games found in other large establishments, from a multitude of slots, table games, poker rooms and other forms of gambling and non-gambling entertainment activities.
Indeed, it doesn’t take a whole lot of casinos to turn a country into an international gambling destination, if the example of Singapore, with its two casino resorts, is anything to go by.
When the legislature re-assembles in September, it will have a chance to set the country on the road to become a leading European gambling hub by approving the government plans. The license will then be up for bidding, and the whole process up until signing the contract with the winner is expected to take less than a year.
Now, the plan approved by the ministers includes only brick-and-mortar gambling, but it is highly unlikely that the government will be able to ignore the revenue potential in having online casinos in Cyprus that accept domestic players.