Cyprus Readies Regulated Online Sports Betting
Thousands of Cypriots will have access to regulated sports betting as soon as October 3 as their country preps for its first legal online sports books. It’s a massive leap forward for a country that once shunned regulated gambling of all kinds.
The idea of regulated online sports betting isn’t exactly new to Cyprus as plans have been in the works since 2012, according to a report on Calvinayre.com. Back then, the government was counting on a Greek operator called OPAP to run the show.
While OPAP was ready and willing to helm a Cypriot sports betting monopoly, European Union regulators weren’t won over by the plan. They very quickly labelled the plan as anti-competitive and encourage Cyprus to come up with another plan.
The Cypriots responded by opening their sports betting monopoly to all comers and, as of this writing, a total of three operators have applied for Cypriot sports betting licenses. Government officials have said they intend to have the applicants approved and operational by the beginning of October.
Online sports betting, however, is not the only arm of the gambling world Cyprus is looking to welcome to their shores. Government officials expect to approve the country’s first regulated brick and mortar casino by the end of the year.
This rush towards regulated casino gambling and sports betting is a direct result of the 2012 banking crisis that shattered the Cypriot economy. That left the government of Cyprus seeking new forms of revenue and, as is so often the case, they’ve turned to regulated gambling.