Cyprus Casino Approved

The Cyprus parliament has passed legislation approving the Mediterranean island’s first casino resort. Lawmakers voted 29-22 in favor of the law, which they hope will stoke the regional economy. Some of the world’s largest casino companies are reportedly eyeing the development.

30-year license term

The government of Cyprus has passed legislation that will lead to the island’s first-ever casino resort. According to, the northern Turkish Cypriot has casinos, but the industry never expanded south due to opposition from the Greek Orthodox Church and concerns among Greek Cypriots about the social dangers of gambling.

In 2009, former President Demetris Christofias said, “There will be no casinos in Cyprus as long as I am president. Casinos are expression of corruption and can create a crisis to the system.”

His term ended in 2013. Earlier this year, the bill passed 29-22 in the Cypriot parliament, with most of the no votes coming from the communist party AKEL. Supporters hope a new resort—described in press accounts as a “super-casino”—will boost the island’s struggling Eurozone economy.

The 30-year licensee must develop a resort complex with at least 100 gaming tables and 1,000 machines. Four smaller satellite casinos also may be established.

The project is expected to get under way quickly to increase tourism and employment, and may be open by 2018. Cyprus has been in recession since March 2013, when the government was forced to accept what MSN called “crippling terms” for a debt bailout by international lenders.

Cypriots who want to gamble will have their tax file checked before they are issued a special license to play, the news site reported.