Gambling in Cyprus
Facts About Cyprus
By Reno Rollins
Cyprus is an Eurasian island country located south of Turkey, north of Egypt, east-southeast of Greece and west of Levant. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean, drawing over 2.4 million visitors per year.
The island gained its independence from the UK in 1960, and they became a member of the European Union in May of 2004. In 1974, Turkey invaded and occupied one-third of the island. Located in the north of the island, this area is known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (but only Turkey officially recognizes this). The rest of the island is referred to as The Republic of Cyprus, although the UK still controls a small section of the island.
Cypriot Gambling Laws
Throughout Cyprus, online lotteries, betting exchanges, casinos and sports betting are legal. Horse racing is also offered. While most of the casinos and sports betting locations are situated in the north of the island, the Republic of Cyprus does have one casino for residents to enjoy.
In 2007, an effort was made to bring online gambling under tighter government control. This was also attempted in 2006, but with no success.
The legal gambling age in Cyprus is 18.
Casinos in Cyprus
The majority of casinos in Cyprus are located in the northern Turkish-controlled region. In fact, 18 of the current 19 casinos in Cyprus are situated in this fashion.
A 1975 law made casinos and betting halls legal in North Cyprus, but they really didn’t start to catch on until the 1990s. In 1997, the Islamic Welfare Party in Turkey opposed gambling. This meant that anyone in Turkey who wanted to legally gamble would have to look elsewhere. Luckily, they looked towards Cyprus.
According to research, between 330,000 and 400,000 Greek Cypriots visit Northern Cyprus casinos each year. In the process, they are estimated to lose around 44 million Cyprus pounds. The casinos are also popular with Israeli and European travelers.
The most popular games tend to be Craps, American and French Roulette and Blackjack. Poker, Punto Banco, Baccarat, Keno and Chemin-De-Fer are also available Some casinos also offers Rummy, Wheel of Fortune, Chug-A-Lug and Backgammon.
Many casinos also offer sports betting.
Currently, there are 19 casinos located in Cyprus. They are:
Saray Casino (Ataturk, Meydani, Lefkosia) The casino is open daily from 10am until 5am for the slot machines and 1pm until 5am for the table games. There are a total of 90 slots and 6 table games (Blackjack, Roulette and Caribbean Stud Poker).
Club Acapulco (Catalkoy, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open from 2pm until 6am daily, this casino offers 85 gaming machines and 12 table games.
Resort Dedeman Olive Tree and Viva Casino (Catalkoy, Keryneia, Cyprus) Slot machines are available Monday thru Thursday from 9am until 6am and 24 hours a day on the weekends. Table games are available from noon until 6am on Monday thru Thursday and 24 hours on the weekend. The casino offers 100 gaming machines and 13 table and poker games.
Casino Salamis Bay & Hotel (Famagusta, Ammochostos, Cyprus) Open daily from noon until 6am, this casino has 140 slot machines and 17 table and poker games (Blackjack, American and French Roulette and Craps).
Palm Beach Hotel & Casino (Gazimagusa, Ammochostos, Cyprus) Open daily from noon until 5am, this casino offers 70 gaming machines and 8 table and poker games (Sic Bo, Poker, Blackjack and American Roulette).
Casino Koloni (Ecevit Street, Girne, Cyprus)
Casino Liman (Girne, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open Monday thru Thursday from 11am until 6pm. Open 24 hours a day on Friday and Saturday. There are 116 slot machines in the casino, as well as 8 table and poker games (Poker, Blackjack and American Roulette).
Casino Merit Crystal Cove (Girne, Keryneia, Cyprus) This casino offers 250 slots and 18 poker and table games. Two restaurants, four bars and a 307-room hotel are also available.
Celebrity Casino (Girne, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open daily from 4pm until 6am, this casino features 120 gaming machines and 11 poker and table games (American Roulette and Blackjack).
Denizkizi Casino (Girne, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open daily from 2pm until 6am, this casino offers 66 gaming machines and 19 table and poker games. Restaurants, a bar and hotel are also available.
Grand Rock Casino (Girne, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open from noon until 6am on the weekdays and noon till 7am on the weekends. There are 173 slot machines on the premises and 20 table games (American Roulette and Blackjack).
Jasmine Casino (Girne, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open 24 hours a day, this casino has over 53,800 square feet of gaming space. There are 650 gaming machines and 22 table and poker games. This is currently the largest casino in Cyprus. Six restaurants and three bars are also on the premises.
Rest Casino (Girne, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open from noon until 4am on weekdays and noon until 6am on the weekends, this casino offers 5,920 square feet of gaming space. There are 50 gaming machines and 17 table and poker games (Blackjack, Poker and Roulette). The facility also offers a hotel, two bars and one restaurant.
The Dome Hotel and Casino (Girne, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open daily from 1pm until 6am, this casino features 150 gaming machines and 8 table games (American Roulette, Blackjack and Stud Poker). A 161-room hotel and a restaurant are also available.
Vega Casino (Girne, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open daily from noon until 7am, this casino offers 70 gaming machines and 13 table games. There is also a hotel with 86 rooms.
Viva! Casino Cyprus (Girne, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open 24 hours a day, this casino has 3,000 square feet of gaming space. There are 100 slot machines and 14 table and poker games, as well as a restaurant, two bars and a 105-room hotel.
Casino Galaxia (Kyrenia, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open Sunday thru Thursday from noon until 6am and 23 hours a day on Friday and Saturday. There are 160 gaming machines and 10 table and poker games (Poker, Blackjack and American Roulette).
City Royal Hotel and Casino (Lefkosa, Lefkosia, Cyprus) Open daily from 3pm until 5am, this casino has four restaurants, three bars and an 86-room casino in addition to gaming machines and table games.
London Casino (Serif, Keryneia, Cyprus) Open daily from 4pm until 6am, this casino features 50 gaming machines and 10 table and poker games.
In addition to the land-based casinos, a casino cruise ship is also available. The Louis Cruises - Coral is a cruise ship which sails out of Limassol, Cyprus. For more information, you can visit their website at www.louiscruises.com.
Online Gambling in Cyprus
In 2006, it was estimated that Cypriots wagered 28 million GBP over the Internet. This has led many in the government to call for tighter regulations on the online gambling industry. The main concerns seem to center around protecting children from online gambling and making sure that Cyprus suffers no loss in tax revenue.
As of this writing, a number of online companies are licensed to operate out of Cyprus. Some of these websites include:
The Lottery in Cyprus
The Cyprus Lottery was started in 1958, but it was then suspended from 1960 to 1961, due to the battle for independence with the United Kingdom. Available games include lotto, instants, draw lotteries and number games.
Residents are estimated to spend 93.2 million Cypress pounds per year playing the lottery. 41% of this goes back to help with economic and cultural development.
Poker in Cyprus
While not the most popular game on the island, poker continues to grow in popularity. In fact, a number of Cypriots have achieved success in the world of poker. Phidias Georgiou and Argyris Argyrou have both had success on the European Poker Tour, while Charalambos “Bambos” made a name for himself on the first season of the European Poker Masters.
Horse Racing in Cyprus
Nicosia Racecourse is a horse racing track located in Nicosia, Lefkosia, Cyprus. It is the only available track in the nation of Cyprus.
Horse racing has a rich history on the island of Cyprus, dating all the way back to the Hellenistic period, but it wasn’t revived until the end of the 19th century.
The Nicosia Race Club is the only organization licensed to organize races and accept pari-mutual bets on them.
Races are held on Sundays and Wednesdays in the winter and spring, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the summer and fall.
United Kingdom Gambling
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