Gambling News:Cyprus and Greece

Internet gambling is on the verge of being legalized in Greece. Cyprus on the other hand has taken a firm stance against it.

OPAP is a government owned gambling body in Greece and given the current state of the Greek economy it’s just a matter of time before internet gambling is approved in the country. The government of Greece is adamant and it aims to raise €7 billion by means of a three-year privatization program by selling of companies belonging to the state as well as OPAP.

A representative of the Greek government informed the Agence France Presse news out of this €7 billion the government aims to collect one billion Euros in 2011.  The government will encourage private investment in two state lotteries and in the state’s racetrack vendor ODIE. Athens International Airport is one of the non-gambling organizations targeted in this program, EAS state defence contractor and gas operators DEPA and DESFA.

Greece had to champion these steps since its economy is still gripped by a severe recession; it was thrown a lifeline and bailed out by the International Monetary Fund and The European Union earlier this year.  It’s up to the Greek government now to impose strict financial measures that would guarantee economic growth from here on forward.

Cyprus is a different kettle of fish altogether and has decided to ban internet gambling in its entirety. It has submitted a draft to the European Union stipulating its reasons for banning internet gambling and still awaits approval. Based on current newspaper reports in the Cyprus Mail newspaper, the government has decided to take action against current gaming sites operating in Cyprus, one of the main reasons they decided to operate in Cyprus is because of the country’s fantastic tax benefits.

Casino operators have been handed over to local authorities and the Inland Revenue Department. Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos has informed the local media that the revenue department would ascertain whether the income declarations filed by these companies are accurate.

As a result of inefficiencies tax measures in Cyprus it is believed that the majority of internet casinos in Cyprus, might be guilty of tax avoidance.  Annually the internet gambling industry produces more than €2.5 billion in Cyprus, should these internet casino companies decide to take their business somewhere else this might not bode well for this tiny nation.



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