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Cyprus Gambling Ban Delayed

21 December 2010 by admin

42-16335682Efforts by Cyprus to ban online gambling have suffered a setback, as the EU has delayed making a decision on their proposal. The Mediterranean nation submitted a proposal to the European Union asking to ban all forms of online gambling, but has not yet received a response.

There are no land-based casinos in Cyprus and the communist government already bans poker and wagering on any games of chance within their borders. A loophole in their law, however, allows Cypriot citizens to gamble online if they are patronizing a company based overseas, since that resides outside their jurisdiction. The government then drafted a law that would close that loophole and make online gambling illegal as well. It would, however, legalizing online sports betting and establish a government regulatory agency to license and oversee the industry.

The Cypriot government, in typical communist fashion, considers gambling a “scourge” that must be stopped. They feel gambling is and immoral and a wasteful use of money and want to protect citizens from that behavior, for their own good, of course.

Earlier in the year, Cyprus sent their draft legislation to the European Union for approval and was expecting feedback from the EU by December 14. That has not happened. Instead, the EU has delayed a decision until March 14, 2011. The EU is relying heavily on the government of Malta to formulate their own opinion. Malta is home to an extensive list of online gambling providers and their government is considered experts in the industry.

The EU’s Finance Ministry released a statement saying that due to the “detailed opinion by Malta, the period for a decision by the EU on this legislation is extended.” There is no word on what type of opinion Malta has, but it seems to be in Malta’s best interest to allow Cypriot citizens to gamble at online casinos based in their country. The EU has ruled many times that member states cannot ban foreign competition in a market that they allow. That means Cyprus couldn’t ban citizens from gambling at overseas online casinos but allow gambling on Cypriot casinos. Since they want to ban all online gambling, regardless of the origin of the business, though, the EU may approve the gambling ban.

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