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Betting in Cyprus

Published on: 30/11/2015

Cyprus is an island country in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Turkey. The country was under British administration until 1960 when it became independent, although the UK still controls a section of it. The northern region of Turkey was called the Turkish Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish military were present in the mid-seventies. The island became part of the European Union in 2004, and now attracts several million holiday makers annually.

Cyprus’ betting legislations are fairly laid back with many forms of gambling permitted including casinos, horse racing, lotteries via the internet and sports wagering. Punters have to be 18 or over and the laws do differ in the Northern part of the country. In the north of the country, a law introduced in 1975 legalised gambling venues. As a result, a dozen or so new betting establishments were created in the location of Girne. The late 1990s saw a ban on betting in Turkey prompting citizens to wager in Cyprus instead. This gave the country’s gambling industry a massive boost.

In the south of the island, stricter rules were maintained and Northern Cyprus remains the destination of choice for Greek Cypriots, Israelis and other holidaymakers who wish to gamble on the island. At last count, there were 22 casinos open for business in North Cyprus.

The Girne Casino and the Cratos Premium Hotel are typical examples of gambling establishments in Cyprus. The large venue open around the clock and offers over 250 slot machines and 34 games tables. There are numerous bars and restaurants and the hotel can accommodate hundreds of visitors. In addition, to sports gambling there are many betting activities available such as Poker and Blackjack, and French and American Roulette to name just a few. Some venues facilitate gaming tables for the Wheel of Fortune and Backgammon.

Cruise ships with casinos are present only in the Southern part of Cyprus where the main port of Limassol is located. One of these ships is known as the Coral Casino. It holds over 600 passengers and sails to many Mediterranean ports as well as other European destinations.

Southern Cyprus also differs from the Northern part of the country due to the fact that it has its own horseracing track known as the Nicosia Racecourse. The Nicosia Race Club offers betting facilities to punters attending local events. The venue has year round horse racing and holds regular meetings.

When the use of the internet first became widespread in Cyprus, many illegal betting web sites took advantage of the slack legislation and Cyprus acquired a dubious reputation with regards to online betting. However, the authorities recently took steps to amend the gambling laws; as a result, over 90 legitimate betting web sites are now based in the country.

Online Lotteries, sportsbooks, betting exchanges and table games in Cyprus are all licenced by the government. However, citizens can enjoy wagering via hundreds of internet sportsbooks including well-known names such as:

It is estimated that approximately €0m is gambled every year by the citizens of Cyprus, with a large percentage of this money being wagered via the internet.