The online betting market

by:IOANNA SOLOMOU

The National Betting Authority (“NBA”), as this has been set out to be the island’s regulatory authority subject to the provisions of the Betting Law of 2012, is proceeding with its plans to launch the review of applications for the authorisation of a regulated online sports betting market.

On October 3rd, 2016 the NBA, will start accepting online betting applications (Class B Licence applications) for the purpose of review for granting of the necessary licence. There is a deadline by November 3rd, 2016 for all online sports betting sites that are currently offering services online through their EU regulation to Cyprus to submit their applications. Failure to do so will result in the specific sites being added on to the online NBA’s “blacklist”.

Subject to the legal regime as this was enacted in 2012, in order for a physical or legal entity to be providing electronic (online) betting services they must have a Class B Licence as issued by the NBA.

Class B licence encompasses all forms of electronic (online) betting apart from limited benefit games machines, lucky online casino games and electronic betting on horseraces. While 'betting' (on sports or other events) is regulated, the use of any 'game machine' (including poker, horseracing, bingo and slot machines) on the other hand is strictly prohibited.

Class B services provided online may be provided only through a website using a '.com.cy' domain. ISPs in Cyprus are required to have control over all operating websites which offer such services and in particular, and on request from the NBA, they must block access to any unlicensed provider of services falling within Class B or to any other provider of illegal gambling services.

Requirements:

  • The applicant/officer/ultimate beneficiary/holder of significant interest of the legal person (article 15):

   -  must not have been convicted of a related offence and

   -  must be over 25 years old (in relation to natural persons)

The Authority takes into consideration:

   -  The current financial circumstances and the background of the applicant, which includes but is not limited to financial resources, which are available for the provision of these betting services and

   -  In the case of an unclear criminal record, the nature of the previous convictions, the type and the level of the imposed sentence.

  • The application (article 28):

   -  must be submitted by a company with shares, established in Cyprus or abroad, which has a branch (oversea company) in Cyprus, and its main activity is betting, and its issued and paid share capital is at least €500.000. 

   -  must be accompanied by a bank guarantee from a commercial bank which carries out banking business in Cyprus or in a member-state of EU or a cooperative bank, for the amount of €550.000,00 and its validity period must extend to 6 months after the expiry of the requested licence.

   -  must be accompanied by information about the obligation of the applicant to install a backup server and a computerized support system in Cyprus.

  • The Authority must be satisfied that (article 29):

   -  The applicant has or can obtain sufficient resources and has the minimum reserves to safeguard the payment of winnings to players.

   -  The applicant has a proper control system and accounting system;

   -  The applicant applies all the terms and regulations during the provision of betting services for the protection of the customers;

   -  The applicant safeguards the suitability of any other equipment he may use.

Procedure (article 14)

  • Fees (article 66):

€30.000 for one year
€45.000 for two years

  • The form (pages 19-31 of regulations), issued by the Authority and has to include:

   -  Class of the licence (B);

   -  Address in Cyprus;

   -  Identity and place of residence of the applicant/officer/ultimate beneficiary/holder of significant interest of the legal person if it is a natural person or of the authorized representative if the application is submitted by a legal person;

   -  Terms and regulations which the applicant is going to apply on the provision of betting services;

   -  Financial information;

   -  Participation to lawful activities, which includes but is not limited to any interest on any other commercial activities;

   -  Criminal record;

   -  Information about all the financial and other interests;

Any further information and documents required by the Authority.

Validity period (article 24):

It is valid for one or two years, depending on what is requested by the applicant.

The information provided with this Article is for informative purposes only. Should you require further information and/or clarifications you may contact Ioanna Solomou at ioanna@kyprianou.com.cy