Government approves bet tax changes

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The Council of Ministers approved a draft law according to which the taxation of fixed odds bets is moved from the punter to the companies organising the bets, with the main objective of stamping out illegal betting activities in Cyprus.

The Draft Law scraps the betting tax from the previous 25% on football and 10% on horse racing bets with a uniform 15% taxation on the

bookmakers’ net gross profits on all betting categories.

With the new legislation, there will be three main categories of bets in which limited liability companies with a minimum CYP 100.000 capital can conduct business. The Category 1 authorises companies to conduct fixed odds bets on all sports, but horse races, the Category 2 deals only with horse racing and Category 3 refers to electronic fixed odds betting. Companies need to pay a CYP 5.000 for the annual licence, CYP 9.000 for two years and CYP 14.000 for three years.

All permits will be reviewed and authorised by a newly to be created Betting Commission, which will have the responsibility for granting of licences, regulation and if required the withdrawal of licences. The five member Commission will include representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Auditor General’s office, IT and Electromechanical Departments in addition to an independent Chairman.

Based on the legislation, the Horse Racing Club will lose its monopoly to conduct local horse racing, while the law also allows punters to bet on foreign horse races.