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Cyprus Looking to Ban Online Gaming Too

29 November 2010 by admin

When it comes to gambling online, countries seem to feel one of two ways: either they are fine with it or they are very strongly against it. We are already well aware that Republicans in the United States are part of the latter group. Their reason for putting what equates to a ban on online gambling is that, in short, they know what is morally best for us.

But that is not Cyprus’ reason for wanting to put a ban on online gambling in their country. The police are citing violence and crime. Yes, the police are giving the reason for the desired ban, not lawmakers. Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos has said, “The police have repeatedly – publicly in fact – that online gambling is the originating cause of many crimes – whether these involve loan sharking, or threats, or blackmail or even taking people hostage illegally. We have pointed out these dangers in various memos that have been submitted to the relevant authorities.”

What is seemingly frustrating Cyprus lawmakers – and their police force – is that Cyprus is a member of the European Union and has been since 2004. And since 2007, Cyprus has been following the EU’s online gambling regulations.

I think that Cyprus is looking to a couple of role models for their ban: the United States and Portugal. From the sound of their desired ban, they are only looking to keep their citizens from gambling online – like how the United States has the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in place in an attempt to try and stop online gambling by U.S. citizens. Considering that a few online casino groups are licensed and regulated out of Cyprus I doubt that Cyprus would want to give up the revenue from licensing fees and taxes they receive from those online casino groups.

In short it sounds like they are okay in making it possible for other countries to gamble online, but not their own citizens. But remember they are not trying to ban online gambling for the sake of their citizens’ moral souls like the U.S., Cyprus is trying to ban online gambling to reduce domestic crime.

And that is exactly the reason cited by Portugal when they successfully fought for their very own ban on online gambling in 2009 in the European Court of Justice. Obviously Portugal was successful, and Cyprus believes that if Portugal can do it, so can they.

“We need to convince the European Commission that the ban is in the public interest and that it adheres to the principle of proportionality. It is intended to combat criminality and to protect the consumer,” Said Attorney General for Cyprus Petros Clerides.

If the European Commission approves the ban by their December 15th deadline, Cyprus will then move forward with making the ban law. They are so adamant about banning online gambling that they are ready to sign the ban into law as soon as the approval comes, which means that online gambling for citizens of Cyprus will be a big no-no by the end of the year.

Not that I want UIGEA to be firm or for a U.S. ban to be placed on U.S. citizens rather than on financial institutions, but I do have to admit that Cyprus lawmakers do seem to have their ducks more in order than the Republicans on banning online gambling.

2 Responses to “Cyprus Looking to Ban Online Gaming Too”

  1. jim connors says:

    banning online casinos would not help actually. It will just push people to do illegal gambling. I think it is better to just limit the games or the players, but not really banning it.

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