Cyprus & Betfair Clash Over New Gambling Online Restrictions

Authorities have regulated sports betting, levying a 10% revenue tax on all gaming operators as the House of Representatives, Cypriot, has passed a controvercial legislation prohibiting exchange betting, and online casino games.

The gambling bill survived through the Legal Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives last week, before a full parliamentary vote on Friday saw a majority of Rep’s approve the measure.

The bill regulates legal betting and gaming, and will provide for a tax on net betting revenue (after winnings). The state claims that the reasoning for the ban, is that it is worried about losing billions of dollars in revenues to exchange betting and online casinos, where punters are able to bet directly against each other using an intermediary company.

The company which runs the lottery, OPAP, is excempt due to its bilateral agreement between Cyprus and Greece, and because of this many online gambling companies are disgruntled.

Following this controversial announcement, Betfair has been threatening to take the Cyprus government to international court, as the betting exchange group now faces an unexpected blow from the new legislations, to limit gambling. Betfair’s shares have dropped around 4.5%, after Cyprus introduced the regulations to restrict gambling online.

“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.” said Jonathan Oates, Betfair’s communications director said in a statement.

Betfair beleives the legislation to contain serious flaws, and, in certain areas, is not consistant with EU law. Betfair will be taking all steps necessary to reduce the profitability impact through both cost management and legal action.

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