Casinos to open in Cyprus within two years

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images (1)The new Cypriot government is considering opening casinos on the island within two years, promoting a project that was not approved by the previous government due to ideological reasons. Giorgos Lakkotrypis, the commerce minister has spoken with the Cyprus Tourism Organizations and has requested an update of the 2007 Study about the creation of casinos. This information will help the Cypriot government to decide how this project will develop. The previous administration had stubbornly declined to consider the opening of casinos because it was against their ideology. The previous President, Christofias, consistently brushed off suggestions that Greek Cypriots spend their money at casinos in the North and this revenue would be better of being kept in the Republic. He remained adamant that during his presidency there would be no casinos in Cyprus. He explained that for him Casinos are an expression of corruption and can create social issues. He highlighted the efforts of the party to avoid any establishments of casinos. Cypriots spend millions on gambling and illegal online games in the North of Cyprus. According to the ministry the CTO study states should casinos open in the Republic the annual revenues for the state would be between €35 and €50 million. An estimated € 6.0 million per year is also spent on gambling by Greek Cypriots in the north where casinos are allowed. It was also suggested there was not enough scientific evidence to substantiate a connection between casinos and negative effects on society, pathological gambling is not just connected to casinos but all types of gambling. ‘Cyprus is a special case since even without casinos in the Republic, pathological gamblers exist as there is free access to casinos in the occupied areas, ‘the ministry explained at the time. ‘The current situation in Cyprus where effectively every neighborhood has two or three small casinos in the form of unregulated betting shops makes the problem worse.’