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Cyprus – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
Before we can start to uncover the somewhat complicated realm of gambling in Cyprus, we must first discuss the political environment of the Mediterranean island nation. The island currently remains split between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on the Republic of Cyprus, representing the South West region of the island. This means that certain information contained herein will not be applicable to Cypriot residents of the Turkish Republic region. The online gambling scene has experienced a lot of changes in the Republic of Cyprus over the past decade, which has created quite a bit of confusion and misinformation, which we aim to clear up in this article.
More information about Cyprus – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
Online casino operations are for the most part illegal in Cyprus. The exception to this is sports betting activities, which require a license to operate. This means that Cypriot residents will often find that they are blocked by their internet service provider from accessing online casinos. Players have therefore resorted to using VPNs to change their IP addresses so that they can bypass localized restrictions.
The issue comes from the fact that most establishments will prohibit the use of VPN software on their sites. Another problem that can arise from using a VPN, is that you may be using an IP address of an unregulated territory, hence increasing the risk of encountering illegitimate operations. Regardless, it is always recommended that you ask yourself a few questions about a casino before registering with them, such as the ones below.
- Is the casino licensed?
- How involved is the casino’s licensing authority?
- Is there information about the site’s reputation?
- Are euros supported?
- Does the site have Greek or Turkish language options?
- Are Cypriot players entitled to any promotions?
Finding answers to these and other questions can be quite a daunting prospect to complete for every casino you come across. That is why your best bet is to stick with GoodLuckMate, as we provide comprehensive casino reviews and articles that take all of the frustration and effort out of keeping yourself informed.
It was the Betting Law of 2012 that created a lot of the restrictions that are still seen in Cyprus today. This law banned all forms of online and land-based gambling with the exception of certain lotteries and sports betting activities. The formation of the National Betting Authority (NBA) was also established, becoming the governing authority concerning all forms of gambling activities within the nation.
It wasn’t until 2019 that the restrictions began opening up. This allowed land-based casinos to open up on the island while allowing organizations to request a gambling license from the NBA. This also showcased the law’s clear distinction between online and land-based operations, as separate requests are required, depending on the nature of the establishment.
Currently, online casino games are still illegal in Cyprus and there have even been cases of fines and arrests of individuals who were caught breaking this law. It is therefore recommended that residents of Cyprus stick to sports betting when gambling online, for the time being.
Cypriot residents will most likely find that the localization of online casinos will generally be a mixed bag. Many sites restrict players from Greece and Turkey, which makes Greek and Turkish language options quite rare. Also, due to the current legislation and the relatively small market size of Cyprus, it will be rather difficult to find sites that will have localized promotions and events. The exception to this will be sports betting sites, which are able to operate on a fully regulated basis within the country’s jurisdiction.
On the other hand, as most operations are based in the EU, you can expect a wide acceptance of euros and euro-based payment options to be available. English is also the default language of the vast majority of sites, which should allow most Cypriots to get by with.
Being able to play online using euros should not be a concern for any players. As most sites are based in Europe, the euro remains the predominant default currency. This also means that there will be several payment cards, E-wallets and bank transfer payment options available for players using euros.
Again, we cannot stress enough that online casinos are for the most part banned in Cyprus and therefore making bank payments to such an establishment is not recommended. If you are committed to playing anyway, we recommend you use an alternative payment method, such as an E-wallet or cryptocurrency instead.
The City of Dreams Mediterranean and Limassol are both recently established land-based casinos currently operating in the southern region of the island. These venues will allow you to play traditional casino games, however, online games still remain prohibited in these establishments. There are several options for placing sports bets though, which is very much legal. So, if you are a sports enthusiast you will most likely have a much easier time finding the right site for you. The same can’t be said for those preferring slots and table games, as this will require you to go outside of the law and its protections to find. We will therefore have to recommend that Cypriot players stick to land-based casinos when wanting to game, but with the option of hopping on the web for any sportsbook action.