Conf?rence de presse de Demetris Christofias, Pr?sident de la R?publique de Chypre
Cyprus President Demetrious Christofias is being urged by local business groups to change his stance and allow development of casino gaming in specific locations. At the same time, the government is hoping to take advantage of recent E.U. court rulings that would support its efforts to ban online gaming.
The Cyprus Mail reports that Hermes Airports Chairman Nicos Shacolas fully expects the government to allow construction of a luxury hotel and leisure complex, with a casino, next to the new Larnaca airport. MIG Group Chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos wants to get more out of his investment in the Nicosia Hilton by obtaining a casino license, and the Limassol Chamber of Commerce is supporting a public venture that is bidding for a license.
The state itself has a deal with Qatar to develop a luxury complex in central Nicosia, which could also include a casino.
Those asking Christofias to change his mind on casinos include the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Employers and Industrialists Federation, and hotel operator organizations PAYXE and STEK. The groups all believe casinos would attract quality tourism to the island.
Meanwhile, Christofias and governing party AKEL are pushing for a ban of online gaming as a means to combat what they see as a growing social problem. Online gambling falls under the Betting Law, which was amended in 2007 to comply with E.U. legislation for the free provision of services. But now, the effort is under way to re-amend the law to exclude electronic gambling from this list of E.U.-agreed services.
Discussion of a bill currently in parliament is now on hold, pending mandatory consultations with interested parties and the preparation of an impact study of such a bill.
“What we have determined is that the necessary consultation with all those involved was not carried out,” DIKO deputy Nicolas Papadopoulos said.
A third form of proposed gaming could receive an unexpected boost from the economic crisis in Greece. As part of its budget-crisis fix, Greece is looking at licensing electronic gaming machines linked to a central, government-monitored system.