Cyprus National Betting Authority has asked the House to approve a EUR 1 mln budget for the creation of support mechanisms for young people exposed to gambling and become addicted to it.
According to data sent to parliament by the chair of the Authority, Ioanna Fiakkou, the budget requested will be spent on designing a strategy promoting responsible gaming and dealing with cases of gambling addiction.
Plans include the creation of a specialized prevention and intervention centre aimed at providing information and support to gamblers and the general public and strengthening existing centres providing services to people experiencing addiction problems.
A dedicated online platform that allows players to be self-excluded from betting and gaming services will also be set up, while educational seminars will be carried out in schools and elsewhere.
A survey conducted by IMR and the University of Nicosia for the Betting Authority in November 2017 – January 2018, with a random sample of 3,000 people aged 15 and above, revealed that 75% of Cypriots aged over 15, which corresponds to 399,750 people, are engaged in gambling activities.
Of these, 81% (323,798 individuals) are identified as being low-risk, 13% (51,967) are considered gamblers with indications of developing behavioural problems related to gambling, and 6% (23,985) are identified as compulsive gamblers.
According to research, Cypriots come into contact with gambling as young as 12.
Based on Betting Authority data, as of April this year 10 online betting companies were licensed in Cyprus, 528 betting shops were in operation, of which 176 in Nicosia, 157 in Limassol, 95 in Larnaca, 56 in Paphos and 44 in the Famagusta region.