Cyprus Government reconsidering OPAP monopoly agreement

By Caroline Watson
The National Betting Authority (EAS) has begun its crackdown on some 2,500 unlicensed online betting/gambling services, deemed to be targeting national consumers.

The EAS told MPs that they are planning to block any websites that offer such games, as online casinos are forbidden in Cyprus.

The actions of the authority have been granted by the Cypriot Finance Committee, in the hope of creating fair market conditions for sports betting operators looking for a Cypriot license application.

The authority has warned all parties concerned that all wagering from Cypriot accounts must be stopped in order to comply with its licensing application process.

As part of the bill, the committee also reviewed the interstate agreement with Greece which gives betting giant OPAP a monopoly on lottery number games in Cyprus.

OPAP has operated its services in Cyprus since 1969. Nonetheless, the betting giant has come under scrutiny following revelations earlier this year that the government are losing around €1m per month.

Under the existing agreement, OPAP pays some €10m in taxes, but now the Cypriot government want OPAP to double its yearly fixed contribution, with an additional 20% tax on lottery gross profits.

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