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Cyprus Nears Appoval To Build A Casino In Its Southern Region.

CyprusCyprus’ legislative assembly, the House of Representatives will be voting this week on a bill to approve the construction of the country’s first integrated casino resort. A decision is expected to be made on the 10th of March and if approved, it will pave the way for the first casino to be constructed in the Southern part of the island. Northern Cyprus has already legalized the casino industry.

Cyprus has been separated into two regions since 1974 after Turkey launched an invasion into the northern region of Cyprus to counter a Greece-backed military coup there. The northern part is now officially known as Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but is not recognized by any nation except Turkey. The southern part known as Republic of Cyprus continues to be recognized by all countries.

Commenting on the casino project, government spokesperson Nicos Christodoulides has stated that the project is vital as it is one of most important infrastructure projects to come to Cyprus and is expected to have a large impact on its economy.

Media reports have been speculating on the possible companies that could be considered for awarding the license and expect a bidding war. One of the popular contender’s is Philippine-based Blomberry Resorts Inc. Leo Venezuela, Bloomberry’s director of investor relations stated in December 2015 that the company had submitted an expression of interest for bidding on the project. Reports have also suggested that a consortium that includes Macau’s Melco, Naga of Cambodia and Hard Rock from Las Vegas to be part of fray that wants to bid for the new license.

According to Christodoulides, Cyprus will grant a 30 year gambling license and an exclusivity agreement for 15 years to the successful bidder. The gaming regulations, said to be rigorous have already been reviewed and cleared by the House Finance and Commerce committees that was held on March 1.

In a statement Zacharias Zachariou Cyprus’ Commerce committee chairman said,

The regulations are sufficiently stringent, aim to protect the public and gamblers in the casino, and are on a par with those in force at European and international casinos across the planet.

The acting chair of the Finance committee Angelos Votsis has reiterated that the regulations are satisfactory and added that they are ready to be submitted to the parliament.

The regulations state that the Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Authority (CGC) will be able to conduct inspections of the casino operator whenever required. It will also be granted the authority to collect fingerprints from resort personnel. Additionally, the regulations have specific conditions on advertising, requiring the resort to publicize not just its gambling services but other facilities as well.

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