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Online Gaming in Cyprus

Authored by - Ramparts (Last updated June 2024)

Overview

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Cyprus Online Gaming Overview

Regulated Market
In Cyprus, online gambling such as online casinos, poker and exchange betting is generally banned with the exception of online sports betting. Cyprus is a popular destination for online sports betting companies that are looking to expand.

Horse race betting is legal however, under the exclusive monopoly of the Nicosia Race Club. Furthermore, only fixed odds sports betting is allowed. Betting machines and sports betting are illegal as well as Dog race betting.

The legal gambling age in Cyprus is 18, although some venues require customers to be at least 21 to enter the premises.

Online betting is defined in Cypriot law as being carried out remotely using electronic means through telecommunications channels including the internet, telephone, television and any means of electronic or other technology. In the course and for the purposes of participating in online betting, each player must register by setting up an online user account.

Market Size
The National Betting Authority of Cyprus has announced financial figures for the fourth quarter and full year of 2023, for both its land-based and online offerings.

Within the report, the two are distinguished by Class A, referring to land-based betting, and Class B, referring to online betting.

Looking at the fourth quarter for both Class A and Class B together, comprehensive income, profit distribution and gross gaming revenue (GGR) all saw increases.

Online GGR reached just over EURO 19M for the quarter, while land-based reached a total of EURO 14.8M.  In total across both sectors in the quarter, GGR reached EURO 30.9M, a 9% increase year-on-year.

Total comprehensive income for Q4 2023 reached EURO325.6M, an increase of 10%; EURO235.1M of from Class B betting, EURO90.5M from Class A betting.

Looking at the full year, total GGR was set at EURO123.4M, a 6% growth rate compared with 2022. Class A GGR saw a marginal drop of 0.2% to EURO54.5M, while Class B rose 12% EURO68.9M.

Looking at comprehensive income for the full year, the total figure was EURO 1.1B. Again, the online sector took the majority of this at EURO799.1M, up 17%, while land-based offerings grew 12% year-on-year to EURO310.1M

Competitive Landscape
Most land-based gambling is subject to monopolies in Cyprus and therefore the list of licensed operators is relatively limited. Online betting however is permitted and a full list of operators is set out on the National Betting Authority (NBA) website: Regulated Entities

Top Key Attractions and Challenges

Attractions

  • Possible to operate online betting to customers outside Cyprus
  • Popular hub and a service centre for offshore operators (particularly Curacao) because of EU membership, banking and low corporate tax
  • Low licence fees and gaming tax
  • Relatively light touch compliance
  • Sports betting is specifically licensed
  • Betting in Cyprus is very popular among the Cypriot population
  • Relatively small market which has room for expansion

Challenges

  • High Minimum Guarantee and paid up share capital up front costs
  • Only online sports betting is licensed, with other online verticals such as casino prohibited
  • Dispute resolution in Cyprus can be very time consuming with relatively high costs.

Licensing & Regulation

Monopoly licence / Unregulated (No gaming tolerance)

Cyprus Online Gaming Licensing & Regulation

Licence Triggers
Any form of betting advertising, even if a passive website with no specific targeting of Cypriot customers will trigger a licensing requirement, where Cyprus has a large backlisting program against unlicensed operators.

Array/Type of Licences
The Betting Law of 2019, repeals and replaces the previous regime, and allows the issuance of two Classes of licences i.e....

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Enforcement

Regular / Punitive

Cyprus Online Gaming Enforcement

Regulatory Body
The National Betting Authority (NBA) was established pursuant to the Betting Law of 2012 (Law 106(1)/2012). It constitutes an independent administrative authority which has financial independence and autonomy.

The NBA is responsible for receiving, reviewing and examining applications for Class A (land – based betting) and Class B (online betting) licences and making the final decisions as...

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Marketing

Banned

Cyprus Online Gaming Marketing

Advertising of gambling opportunities is permitted in Cyprus, to the extent that the nature and extent of such advertising is limited to the true and accurate representation of the services provided by licensed persons. Article 89 of the Betting Law of 2019, the NBA’s Code of Practice on Betting Advertising and the Unfair Commercial Practices law of 2007, 2013 should...

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Fees

High

Cyprus Online Gaming Fees

The licence application fees are low. However, the minimum bank guarantee required is quite high. See Betting section for specific on that Product as it’s the only licensed sector

The apply for Class A and Class B licences. For a one-year licence the fee is EUR 30,000, while two-year licences cost EUR 45,000.

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Taxes

Low

Cyprus Online Gaming Taxes

With regards to taxation, the licenced entity/person must pay on an annual basis a betting tax to the Republic of Cyprus and a contribution to the National Betting Authority (NBA). A 10% betting tax on net revenue (GGR) is payable to the Republic of Cyprus. Furthermore, a 3% tax on net revenue (GGR) is payable as contribution to the NBA...

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Future Outlook

Uncertain

Cyprus Online Gaming Future Outlook

There are not significant changes or developments expected to the online market.

In respect of the applicable legislative and regulatory framework governing gambling activities in Cyprus, the enactment of the Betting Law of 2019 makes the most notable development in recent years.

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Legal Expert

Ramparts

Office locations Gibraltar
Based in Gibraltar, Ramparts law firm specialises in providing advice on Gibraltar, UK, Irish and EU law.

Ramparts assists gaming, payments and crypto asset businesses with their global cross-border regulatory issues and strategies, as well as corporate and commercial matters (including licensing, contracts, AML/CTF requirements and finding suitable business partners and payment service providers).

Ramparts was established as a law firm in 2012 to support Gibraltar’s gaming, e-payments and fintech industries. In 2015, Ramparts established a fiduciary business under the same brand. Their fiduciary team assists clients with compliance support, accounts and tax filings, company administration, establishing and managing trusts and private foundations and funds administration.

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