Obtaining a Betting Licence in Cyprus
Cyprus’ attractive tax system and the presence of forex regulators in the island, makes it one of the strongest business centres in the world and an entrepreneur’s traditional business hub. Even though, legalized betting is new to Cyprus and restricted, nevertheless, it is possible to obtain a Cyprus betting licence.
The National Betting Authority (NBA) is in charge of managing gaming activities in Cyprus. The NBA’s duties include reviewing of applications, licencing, auditing and supervising online betting providers and betting shops as well as conducting investigations for complaints and suspending licences whenever necessary.
The Betting Law of 2012 had been replaced by the Betting Law of 2019, which introduced new legislation for betting activities and rendered the NBA, an autonomous regulatory with financial independence and self-sufficiency. The Authority’s duty is to licence and supervise bookmakers, betting activities and the practice of gambling within Cyprus.
The Cyprus betting licence is divided in two Classes - Class A license monitors land based betting services within licensed premises, excluding horse racing. Class B licence is offered for the facilitation of electronic betting services, but prohibiting the use of slot machines, online casinos and lotteries.
Licenses are valid for one or two years, and can be renewed by the NBA. It is forbidden to transfer an operating licence.
Licencing regime – legal and technical requirements
Only a company with limited shares can submit the application for Class A and Class B bookmaker’s licence. This company can be established in Cyprus or abroad, and register at the Department of Registrar of Companies as a domestic or foreign company with its main activity being betting services. The company should have a share capital of at least €500.000, issued and paid up, as well as be accompanied by a bank guarantee of €550.000, valid within a six months period following the certification of the licence to the applicant. Applications for Class B license require an additional specification the establishment of a back-up server within Cyprus, which should be linked to the computerized systems of the authority, in order to be able to facilitate real time transactions and information data about betting activities.
An individual is deemed competent for obtaining Class A and Class B bookmaker’s licence only if he/she has the appropriate funds to maintain the minimum reserves required in order to guarantee that the winnings would be paid to the players. Adding to this, the operator should ensure that the players have the appropriate protection by applying terms and conditions when providing betting services as well as conduct appropriate due diligence for client identification as required by Cyprus’ anti-money laundering legislation. The documents that are required from each player include identification (proof that they are over 18 years old), proof of address, contact details (valid email address) and declaration that they have been informed about terms and conditions regarding the way in which the bet will be conducted.
A Cyprus licensed company can offer online sports-betting services in any other country as long as it complies with laws and regulations of the player’s country of residence. Any foreign licensed company is prohibited such services in Cyprus, unless it obtains a licence from the NBA.
A last word
This new legislation has introduced new products for the licensees and power to the Authority, with the aim of enhancing the betting sector, attracting innovation and positioning Cyprus as an international gaming hub.
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