The legal framework to set up the first casino resort in Cyprus is expected to come before the House of Representatives by the end of May, with the operating licenses issued some time in Spring 2015, far from the end-2014 timeframe proposed by the consultants earlier this year.
Speaking after a closed-door session of the House Trade Committee, Energy Tourism and Commerce Minister Yiorgos Lakotrypis said that the government has finalised the policy document and is now preparing the legislation, which will be submitted to parliament later this month.
He also said that after parliament passes the bill, the Ministry will be able to issue the license within eight months.
On March 5, the government signed a contract with the advisory firm Deloitte Ltd, which was selected on January 29 following an international public tender, to provide consulting services for the licensing of an integrated casino resort.
The consultants held a first meeting on February 20 with the members of the competent Ministerial and Steering Committees, set up to proceed with the project’s implementation.
The plan, which will determine how many casino-resort licences will be awarded and in which districts, was already two months behind schedule as the government had initially declared that it would adopt a fast-track process by December last year in an effort to speed up development, boost employment and investment.
The government had taken an initial decision last July to proceed with the much-delayed plan, as gamblers continue to flock to the unlicensed establishments in the north, while addicted gamers resort to illegal game rooms, one of which was raided and demolished by British SBA Police earlier last month.
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