Cyprus to Choose Casino Licensee

Starting in September, Cyprus will begin the two-part selection process that will eventually award a single integrated casino resort license. The country enacted gaming legislation last month. Tourism Minister Tiorgos Lakkotrypis (l.) says the casinos will have to attract half a million additional tourists each year to be successful.

One resort, four satellites

In September, the country of Cyprus will launch a two-part process to choose its sole integrated casino license holder. According to the Cyprus Mail, the “competitive, non-discriminatory and transparent” procedure is outlined in the Operations and Casino Control Legislation of 2015, enacted on July 21.

The bill, which passed 29-22, provides for one casino resort and four satellites. Three would only host gambling machines, while the fourth would also include table games. Amendments to the draft law include a ban on granting credit to players, and that state land will not be used for the construction of the casinos.

Entrance criteria have also been introduced for Cypriot players who would have to secure a special permit after their tax file is checked; membership cards would depend on annual income. The Mail reported that illegal operators would have their proceeds seized and face other penalties including possible jail time and fine.

Parliament must also be informed of the selection criteria of the bidders at every step of the process. The selected operator will be able to develop a large casino resort and four smaller satellite locations throughout the island that will be the first-ever casinos in Southern Cyprus. The plan is “to create an integrated resort that competes with the best in the world and the main facility requires an investment of €500 million (US$550 million).

Together with an economic restructuring in 2013, the privatization of major ports and marinas and a new government, Cyprus has become a more appealing investment and tourism destination, according to a news release.

In an interview with state radio network CyBc, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Tiorgos Lakkotrypis said the casino industry would have to attract at least 500,000 tourists each year to succeed. Visitors are expected to hail from Russia and other European and Gulf countries.