Cyprus is a popular tourist destination, a busy hub between countries, and a prosperous country. As a result of all these factors, and several more factors, such industries as online gambling attract lots of interest in Cyprus, both in terms of running business, and in terms of entertainment and having some fun. One of the key questions every tourist on Cyprus asks is whether they can play online casino in Cyprus legally.
This is a legitimate question to ask, because Cyprus hosts many land based gambling houses, opened for locals and tourists. Moreover, experienced online bettors are aware that Cyprus hosts one of the leading companies issuing international egaming licenses to online casinos almost worldwide. So, it is only reasonable to suggest that online gambling is legal in Cyprus, isn’t it?
Well, it isn’t.
Legal Aspects of Gambling In Cyprus
Let’s start with the fact that gambling is kinda prohibited in Cyprus. This sounds weird, considering that there are so many land based betting houses, especially in one part of the island. However, the truth is that gambling is not looked favourably upon, and yet, some facilities get official licenses from local governments. Each case is regarded individually, and there seems to be no law that could regulate all facilities equally.
As a result, some areas allow brick and mortar casinos and keep them as legal facilities, while other areas do not. At the same time, both locals and tourists are allowed to visit those facilities, although tourists are more welcomed, while locals are expected to withhold from gambling activities, because, well… gambling is not looked upon favourably, right?
To cut the long story short, in most cases, locals and tourists in Cyprus can find a legal land based betting house where they will be allowed to play games and make real money bets. However, with online casinos, the situation is even more complicated.
Online Casino Laws
With online casinos, the situation is really weird. Despite the fact that Cyprus is one of the international egaming license issuers, the government does not allow local companies to run online casino sites from the country, accepting local players for real money gambling. History is silent about whether local companies can run online casino sites for offshore gamblers (probably they can), but the direct consequence is that local gamblers cannot play online at sites run by local companies.
Also, online gambling is kinda prohibited for Cyprians… kinda. The government seems to limit access to some online betting sites allowing locals as real money customers, but this limitation policy is not that aggressive, and there are really few cases of local gamblers being persecuted for playing for real money online. As a result, as you may already have guessed, most local gamblers play freely at their favourite online casinos run from abroad.
While this seems to be a more than less favourable situation for Cyprian players, the problem is that, if they stumble across a fraudulent casino site, their government will not be able to protect their customer rights, because well, playing online casinos is illegal. This is why the skill of choosing legitimate and reliable foreign casino sites is so crucial for Cyprian players.
Legitimacy & Safety of Online Gambling in Cyprus
Keeping in mind that foreign online casinos offering their services to Cyprians and tourists are not licensed by the local government, they must be licensed by someone else, in order to be legitimate.
The players must not wonder that online casino sites offer their services to customers in countries where gambling is prohibited (even in theory). Online gambling is often a grey (partially regulated or completely unregulated) market, and offering services is fine until the services are licensed and of high quality. It is the responsibility of the player to choose the best services they can find.
Online casino sites are held legitimate and safe if they are licensed by MGA, Alderney, Curacao, UKGC, and some other authorities. Additional certifications like the one by eCOGRA, seals of trust by independent parties, positive reviews, and other signs of positive reputation in the web should also be taken into consideration. There are many online casino reviewing platforms, including CasinoAuditor, that review online casinos for Cyprus and educate players on telling good sites from bad ones.