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Cyprus Legislators To Further Regulate Casinos and Slot Operators

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Legislators in the state of Cyprus have recently introduced a proposal to regulate gambling, particularly Kazandi. This is a pinball-type gambling game in which a player wagers money on one of the prizes offered on a stand, picks a numbered hole, and then attempts to land a small metal ball in the chosen hole.

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Andros Kyprianou, who chairs the House Interior Affairs Committee, has drafted a bill that would regulate the gambling operators on the island. The proposed legislation would regulate the items that could be won, operating hours, licenses, and wagers.

The maximum single bet wager, for example, would be set to £5. Previously, the limit was set to £1, but policemen, out of compassion for the gambling machine owners, did not enforce the rules. Also, while the former highest allowed prize value is currently £15, this rule is often not enforced by the police. Therefore, the new legislation would set the maximum prize value at £30.

The bill also proposes that the gambling machine owners be forced to clearly label each of the prize items with its value. Additionally, they will have to procure a license and pay an annual operating fee of £120 to the government. Licenses would be non- transferable, but applicable to a number of districts, so that an owner would not have to secure a separate license or pay a separate fee for each of his gambling machines. The new laws would also regulate the hours of operation for the gambling machines; the machines would be allowed to operate from 8am to 4pm, which coincides with the operating hours of many restaurants and taverns. Moreover, the new laws would stipulate that those who use the gambling machines would have to be at least 16 years of age.

The new regulations have been called for among rumors that some unlicensed slot owners had been offering sessions with female “cabaret artists” as prizes. Androulla Michael, who heads the Casino Owners Association, has said that these allegations do not apply to any of the members of his group. “This is a family business and we want to keep it that way. We want to crack down on such phenomena, if they do exist.”

Michael said that there are about 120 licensed slot operators in Cyprus, and that most had inherited the gambling machines from their parents. Slot machines are an intricate part of Cypriot local culture. At village weddings, parades, and festivals, they serve as entertainment for adults.

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