Betfair awaits Cyprus decision

The Cypriot parliament (plenum) could vote as early this week on a bill that would regulate sports betting but ban online casino, poker and betting exchanges.

A total ban on exchanges is however being reconsidered today in favour of a ban on them covering Cypriot matches, thus allowing the offer of markets on games not involving Cypriot teams.

The proposal from the Democratic Rally (DISY) and Democratic Party (DIKO) is however being opposed by the Progressive Party of Working Party (AKEL) party, which is arguing that betting exchanges are  more prone to money laundering than other forms of betting, according to the Cyprus Mail.

Betting exchange leader Betfair last week classified Cyprus as a “higher risk” component of its revenue during its last FY results presentation, together with Germany and Greece accounting for 13% of the company’s  core revenue (excluding the US, Australia and LMAX) in the 12 months to the end of April 2012.

As the bill stands, sports betting operators licensed by the EU Member State will be subject to a 10% tax on revenue, as opposed to the 3% of turnover previously proposed in the draft bill approved by the country’s Cabinet in March 2011.

A KPMG study, commissioned by online industry trade body The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), presented to Cypriot lawmakers in March, concluded a gross profit tax for remote gambling would increase the likelihood of operators applying for licences and therefore increase the tax take of the Cypriot government and ensure better social protection for players in Cyprus.

Once licensed, operators will also be required to pay an additional 3% of revenue to the new Gambling Board to established by the new law, with 1.5% of this allocated to the Cyprus Football Association, 0.5% to other sporting associations and 1% to programmes dealing with gambling addiction.

With lawmakers from the House Finance and Legal Affairs committees agreed on the main body of the legislation, they have resolved to decide the betting exchange issue today.

Casino Choice journalist

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