How to get a gambling license in Cyprus is a popular request among entrepreneurs planning to open a live bets. The island state of Cyprus is a business center of Europe with a large concentration of poker clubs and land-based casinos, a loyal tax regime. The government of the country supports the development of gaming infrastructure, however, as in any other jurisdiction, there are certain restrictions on the island. This does not mean that you will not be able to get a Cyprus gambling license. If you study the intricacies of online casino operation in Cyprus, observe all applicable laws, there will be no problems.
History of licensing of gambling games
The island state of Cyprus started issuing gambling licenses just a few years ago. The first significant event occurred in 2012, when the Parliament of Cyprus adopted the Law on Rates. The country has a supervisory body – the National Money Rates Authority (abbreviated as NBA). It is the NBA that considers applications for the opening of gambling clubs, performs licensing, auditing, and control of gambling operators.
The second gambling regulator in the country is the NGCSC – the Cyprus Commission for the Supervision of Casinos, Betting and Gambling. From the point of view of the law, the land-based entertainment market is more tightly constrained by the regulator than the online betting industry. For example, there is no opportunity to play online poker or blackjack for money on the island. There are no slots or wheel of fortune on any bookmaker website. You can play offline poker, but only in certain gambling establishments.
In 2015, another important law was passed to issue licenses for land-based casinos. Today, the National Tax Agency of Cyprus prescribes mandatory registration of a legal entity on the island that intends to obtain an iGaming license. There are two types of licenses in the country:
- Class A. This permit is intended for ground offices located on the territory of the island.
- Class B. License for betting on the Internet.
Both types of allowed apply to sports bets. If you plan to open a land-based gambling business on the island of Cyprus (rent an office, buy the necessary equipment and hire people), an iGaming license of type A will suit you. Your customers will be able to place bets on football, hockey, tennis, and any other sports events. Exceptions are only bets on horse races.
Gambling license B in Cyprus is intended for operators who plan to conduct remote activities. If the company accepts bets without a license, it can be fined a large sum.
The main requirements for applicants, the validity period of the license, possible restrictions and the tax rate for casinos in Cyprus will be considered below.
Basic requirements for operators applying for a Cyprus license
Are you planning to register a gambling business in Cyprus? This jurisdiction is considered one of the most attractive options for online gambling. At the moment, only one form of gambling on the Internet is allowed in the country – betting on sports. The physical presence of the operator or partner in Cyprus is mandatory.
In order to issue an official permit for conducting gambling activities in Cyprus, the company must meet the following requirements:
- Partnership with a Cypriot company. An alternative option is the physical presence of the bookmaker on the territory of the island.
- Absence of a criminal record.
- Availability of capital.
The future owner of a bookmaker office must make a start-up fee of €30,000 for a start-up license. The cost of a two-year permit is €45,000. In addition, a paid-up capital of €500,000 is required. This rule applies to both Cypriot and foreign companies. In the process of work, the legal entity undertakes to comply with the basic rules of client protection recommended by the NBA, to open an account in a Cyprus bank (relevant for license B), to maintain an effective accounting system.
Important rule! Licensees cannot top up the account with cash, only cashless payment must be used.
Gambling tax for bookmakers
Before buying a license in Cyprus for iGaming, familiarize yourself with the key rules for calculating and paying taxes. First, Cypriot licenses are oriented towards EU countries. Secondly, the permit is not issued for 5 years, as in other jurisdictions, but only for 1-2 years. However, you will always be able to extend your Cyprus license by submitting an appropriate application. If the client does not comply with individual points of the law, the National Monetary Rates Authority has full right to suspend or revoke the license.
A single tax rate of 13% applies to all operators who have received a license for sports betting. It includes a net revenue of 10% and a regular contribution of 3% to the NBA.
Cypriot legislation prohibits customers under the age of 18 from visiting bookmakers and participating in lotteries. Any types of online games, with the exception of betting, are also prohibited. To place a bet online at a Cyprus bookmaker, a player must create an account. The account can be topped up only by bank cards and electronic wallets. Any payment transactions in cash are prohibited.
On the one hand, the island state of Cyprus is not included in the list of countries that offer inexpensive gambling licenses. The legislative base of Cyprus is convenient and extremely understandable, therefore it attracts many owners of bookmakers. Transparent legislation and fair taxation make Cyprus an excellent option for those who want to start a legal iGaming business.