'The Gambling Law of 2012 (160(I)/2012)' regulates the Gambling sector and has entered into force since 2012. The legislation introduces and imposes regulations and proceedings that a natural or legal person has to comply with, enabling such person to conduct and/or run activities which are interrelated with gambling, whether electronic or not.
The legislation established the National Gambling Authority, which is defined as an independent Institution/Body, authorised to manage various issues including deciding whether or not to grant a licence, controlling and/or monitoring the persons who conduct business in the field, as well as supervising such persons as to whether they are in compliance with the national legislation.
Any person who desires to do business in the Gambling sector in Cyprus is obliged to hold a Class A or Class B operation licence. The holder of a Class A licence will be authorised to provide services related to the placement of bets within a facility, excluding racing bets. It is a prerequisite, after the issuance of the relevant licence for operating the business, to issue a building-facilities licence. Alongside, the holder of a Class B licence is authorised to provide services related to electronic gambling, with certain exceptions as prescribed in the law.
In order to obtain the operation licence, it is necessary to submit to the National Gambling Authority, an Application via the relevant Form accompanied by documents stipulated in the Law, and a payment of a predetermined fee.
The decision to issue or renew the operating license is taken by the National Betting Authority, which takes into account, inter alia, various parameters such as financial information, criminal records, etc. The decision to issue or renew an operating license must be issued within a reasonable time and the Authority may impose terms and / or conditions upon the issuance of the licence. It is important to note that the transfer of an operating license is forbidden by the Law, while the transfer of the building/facilities licence is allowed only in certain circumstances defined within the Law. The duration of the licenses (including if and when the building/facilities license is required) varies from 1 to 2 years, with the option of a renewal.
For Class B licenses, it is a prerequisite to run a website in which there must appear specific information. As with regards to online players, in order to allow them to participate in an online/electronic bet, they must register beforehand and provide specific details and information required by the Law to the Class B licence holder. The information received must be kept in a secure electronic form.
In the event of non-compliance with national legislation and / or terms and / or conditions that may be imposed, the Authority has the power to revoke or suspend the respective licences. Ultimately, breach and/or non-compliance with specific obligations, i.e. the unauthorized provision of services, businesses run in unlicensed premises or non-compliance with the licensing conditions, constitute criminal offences which might result in either receiving a prison sentence, a fine or both.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.