CYPRUS: Casino goers fluttered away EUR 210 mln in seven months

Around 470,000 people visited the three casinos in the Cyprus Republic by the end of January, gambling away Euros 210 mln while Euros 175 mln was paid out, the Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission said.

Almost half a million people have passed through the doors at newly-established Cyprus casinos punting some EUR 210 mln on gaming tables and slot machines.

The Cyprus Gaming Commission told the House Ethics Committee on Wednesday that between June 2018 and January this year, winnings returned to casino customers reached 175mln.

The great majority of gamblers, 80 per cent, were Cypriots, Four per cent were Greeks and 11 per cent other nationalities.

According to the Commission, the operator has seen a turnover of Euros 35mln, while paying the state Euros 5.25m in tax (15%).

Talking to MPs, the Commission chairman Christos Mavrellis said an additional EUR 4mln was paid to the state for licenses.

The Commission is confident that Cyprus’ casinos will contribute to enhancing Cyprus’ tourist product by improving its seasonality.

Responding to criticism in parliament that the casinos have not contributed to increasing the tourist flow as expected, Mavrellis said they expected 300,000 more tourists per year when the integrated casino resort opens in Limassol in 2021.

He added the Commission has already received one application from a tour operator interested in bringing foreign gamblers to Cyprus. The first pop-up casino opened in Limassol in June 2018, followed by Nicosia and Larnaca in December, while the EUR 550 mln casino complex project in Limassol is underway.

Mavrellis also told MPs the Nicosia casino appeared to have reduced the number of Greek Cypriot gamblers heading to casinos in the Turkish-held north.

Source: The Financial Mirror