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Bill Fights Illegal Gambling In Cyprus

Lawmakers in Cyprus will vote on a bill that would help authorities shut down illegal gambling venues. The bill would close a venue even if a case is pending against it, as well as impose stricter fines and jail times. Currently a raided and closed establishment often quickly reopens with new equipment, officials said.

Cyprus’ parliament is expected to pass a bill before the summer recess that would make it easier for authorities to shut down an establishment where illegal gambling was suspected to be taking place. In addition, if a lawsuit already is pending against the venue, the venue could be closed until the case was heard in court.

The proposed law also includes strict penalties, with fines of more than $400,000 and jail sentences of up to five years.

AKEL MP Yiannos Lamaris, House Interior Affairs Committee chairman, said current legislation makes it difficult for authorities to make a case against venues offering illegal gambling machines. He said it’s not unusual for police to raid a place and seize all of its equipment, and then find it has opened the following day with new machines.