Cyprus is legalising land based casinosLater this month the Cypriot Parliament will debate legislation that could allow land based casinos to be constructed in the southern part of the country. Casino gambling is legal in the northern part of Cyprus, which has been occupied by Turkey for the past forty years. However, since Cyprus gained its independence in 1960 gambling has been illegal and no casinos have been developed there.

Many Greek Cypriots cross into Northern Cyprus to visit the casinos there and many also play in online casinos which are also banned in the Republic of Cyprus.With the election of a new president last year, after an election campaign where the final two presidential candidates were both in favour of allowing casinos to be built on the southern part of the island it now looks as if there could be legal land based casinos by this time next year. The Commerce Minister, George Lakkotrypis stated recently that a casino gambling bill would be placed before parliament this month and that with a fast track system for licensing, the first casino licence could be granted in the spring of 2015. It is expected that the members of parliament will pass the casino bill however, there are objections to the bill in parliament from one of the main opposition parties. There is also opposition to the legalisation of casino gambling in the country on social grounds. The Greek Orthodox Church and some other groups have opposed the lifting of the ban on casinos on the island claiming that their introduction would bring all of the social problems that have been linked to gambling.Now, even though Cyprus appears to be recovering slightly from the economic crisis which saw it being bailed out, the country still needs to give its economy a major boost. One way to do this is to increase the number of tourists and it is hoped that legalising casinos will attract high spending tourists. Employment would also be created in the construction of what is hoped to be a major casino and possibly two smaller ones if the legislation is passed and the completed casinos would also provide jobs. The government would also benefit as legal casinos would generate tax income.