Cyprus Passes New Legislation, Betfair Threatens Lawsuit

By Debra SaundersGoogle
The House of Representatives in Cyprus this week passed legislation that outlaws online casino games and exchange betting in the country. The bill passed the House of Representatives Legal Affairs Committee and then went to full parliamentary vote.
The new legislation places a tax on net betting revenue and comes as authorities have expressed concerns about the possibility of losing billions of dollars in tax proceeds to online casinos and exchange betting, where punters bet directly with each other using a company as an intermediary.
The country’s lottery is run by a company called OPAP. OPAP is not affected by the new law as it was formulated under a bilateral agreement between Greece and Cyprus. Sources report that this exemption has left other top rated online casinos bitter.
Following the bill’s passage, the Betfair Group has threatened to take the government of Cyprus to international court because the new law has affected its business. The company says that the bill is flawed and fails to meet standards of European Union law. Shares have dropped approximately 4.5% since regulations have been placed on online gambling.
Betfair’s Communication Director, Jonathan Oates, stated, “This particular piece of legislation has been drafted for some while and we were hopeful it wouldn’t come to this, we were hoping to expand if the exchange had been regulated.”

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