Cyprus Gambling License

Cyprus gambling license is one of the most attractive in Europe and the global gambling industry. Its strict security standards, transparency, and high regulatory standards make it the preferred choice for online gambling operators.
Gofaizen & Sherle provides a full range of services for the registration of a gambling company in Cyprus. Our company is ready to assist in obtaining licenses, provide tax advice, develop effective legal strategies, and ensure quality reporting.

Cyprus is an island nation located in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, and east of Greece. The state structure is a presidential republic. The population of Cyprus is multi-ethnic and its cultural heritage epitomizes a mixture of Greek and Turkish cultural influences. The official languages are Greek, English, and Turkish.

Due to its membership in the European Union, Cyprus uses the euro as the main currency on the island. The agricultural sector of the economy is gradually giving way to the service sector. The economic environment is stable, regulation is balanced and per capita income is high. These factors attract international investment, including in the field of gambling. Despite the relative flexibility of its legal framework compared to other European countries, Cyprus strictly follows all relevant EU directives, adhering to high standards and ensuring safety in the gaming industry.

The Cypriot banking system is an extensive and diverse infrastructure that plays a significant role in international financial activity. Consisting of local and foreign banks, it is regulated by the Central Bank of Cyprus by European Union standards. Cypriot banks provide a wide range of banking services, including financing, investments, and traditional banking operations. Since the 2013 financial crisis, there have been changes in the regulation and strengthening of the banking system to make it more resilient and transparent. This is particularly attractive to entrepreneurs who value the privacy, security, and stability provided by financial institutions in the European Union.

Advantages of obtaining a Cyprus Gambling License

Cyprus is a member of the EU

This provides operators with license recognition within the European market and can increase trust among players and business partners.

Favorable taxation

Cyprus offers competitive tax rates, making it an attractive destination for gambling operators. Favorable tax conditions can have a positive impact on the profitability of businesses in this industry.

Regulatory standards

A gambling license in Cyprus is issued by the National Gambling Authority, ensuring compliance with strict regulatory standards. This promotes a safe and transparent gambling environment, increasing player confidence.

Stable legal framework

Cyprus provides a stable legal framework for online gambling. Operators can benefit from clear guidelines, which reduce uncertainties in legal compliance and facilitate the smooth running of the business.

Relatively simple licensing process

By maintaining high standards, regulators aim to simplify the application and approval process, allowing operators to start operating more quickly.

Advanced technological infrastructure

Cyprus has a modern technological infrastructure, including a stable internet connection. This ensures that online gambling platforms can operate uninterrupted and provide a positive user experience.

Focus on consumer protection

The Cyprus regulator emphasizes the importance of player protection measures, including responsible gaming initiatives and dispute resolution mechanisms, and monitors their implementation.

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Requirements for getting a Cyprus Gambling License

To obtain an online gambling license in Cyprus, you must go through a structured application process and meet several requirements set by the National Betting Authority (NBA).

The main requirements are:

  • registration of a private limited company in Cyprus whose main activity is gambling;
  • if the company is not registered in Cyprus, it is necessary to either open a branch or enter into a partnership agreement with a Cypriot company;
  • operators providing services to Cypriot players must be residents of Cyprus. In the case of foreign companies, a local director resident in Cyprus is required to be appointed to deal with the competent authorities and to enter into contracts on behalf of the company;
  • a positive reputation of the applicant and a high financial level of the company to ensure timely payments to players;
  • minimum authorized capital for the applying company of €500,000 (approximately $538,982), which applies to both Cypriot and foreign companies;
  • opening a bank account with a bank in Cyprus, into which the operator will accept funds from players. Licensed online gambling operators are only allowed to make payments to players through NBA-approved payment systems;
  • a bank guarantee from a bank in Cyprus or a bank in another EU member state for €550,000 (approximately $592,880) valid for six months after the license is granted. This guarantee ensures the payment of player winnings, taxes, and NBA dues;
  • compliance with the principles of protection of minors and control over the content and placement of promotional materials.

Applicants for a Class B license must also provide information about a backup server located in Cyprus. This server must be connected to the main server and back up in real-time all necessary data as required by the rules of the National Betting Service of Cyprus. The specifications and use of this equipment shall be clearly defined and may be reviewed by the NBA as necessary.

Types of Gambling Licenses in Cyprus

Under the Betting Law 2012, there are two main types of gambling licenses in Cyprus, each covering different areas of the gambling industry:

  • Class A bookmaker’s license – regulates land-based betting on sporting events. This license provides the ability to accept bets on all sports, excluding horse racing and internet activities.
  • Class B bookmaker license – regulates online betting and gambling, excluding slot machines, online casinos, and lotteries.

The NBA maintains a list of all gambling licensee companies in Cyprus. This list, together with information from license applications, is regularly published by the NBA on its official website.

How to Start a Gambling Company in Cyprus

Registering a new company in Cyprus is not a complicated process, taking only 4-5 working days.

Setting up a gambling company in Cyprus consists of the following steps:

  1. Selection of the organizational and legal structure.

The most common form of gambling business is a private limited liability company (Ltd). Non-resident foreigners can register such a company under Chapter 113 of the Cyprus Companies Law (2012).

The number of shareholders can vary from 1 to 50 and personal presence in Cyprus is not required for registration. A private limited company must have a minimum of one director and a secretary.

  1. Verification and registration of the name of a joint stock company with the Registrar of Companies (RCOR).
  2. Preparation of documents.

The required list of documents for registration includes:

  • a completed and signed application for registration from the founders;
  • Articles of Association and business plan of the company;
  • list of shareholders and directors;
  • a document confirming the consent of the persons appointed as directors to fulfill their duties;
  • certified copies of personal documents of the founders and directors;
  • documents confirming the address of the company, such as a lease agreement or proof of ownership of an office in Cyprus;
  • documents confirming approval of the company address, including a letter from the building owner or consent from the tenant to use the company address.

If the founders wish the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association to be written in a language other than Greek (e.g. English), an official translation certified by a sworn translator in Cyprus is required.

  1. Open an account with a Cyprus bank. Ensure compliance with all financial requirements set by the NBA.
  2. Deposit the minimum authorized capital required by the NBA.
  3. Pay the registration fees.

The fee for standard registration is €165 (approximately $177). Accelerated registration will require an additional 100 euros (approximately $107).

Upon completion of the incorporation process, you should receive corporate certificates from RCOR, which confirm the company’s registration and legal capacity.

Process of applying for a gambling license in Cyprus

A gambling license in Cyprus can only be obtained by companies registered in Cyprus and having shares traded on the Cyprus Stock Exchange.

Applications for obtaining or renewing any gambling license in Cyprus are submitted to the National Betting Association (NBA).

If the same person wishes to obtain Class A and Class B betting licenses, two separate applications must be submitted, which will be treated as independent by the NBA.

The application for a gambling license in Cyprus must state:

  • type of license desired: Class A bookmaker’s office, Class B bookmaker’s office;
  • contact address in Cyprus for receiving correspondence;
  • details of the ultimate beneficiary, executive officer, and owner of the significant interest: full name, place of residence;
  • for legal entities: information on the authorized representative;
  • terms and conditions of betting services to players;
  • financial information about the company;
  • description of internal procedures for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing;
  • criminal records of shareholders, directors, and ultimate beneficiaries;
  • data on the financial and other interests of the ultimate beneficiaries, directors, and owners of a significant portion of the company’s shares.

The cost of a Class A or B bookmaker’s license in Cyprus:

  • One year – 30,000 euros (about $32,339);
  • two years – 45,000 euros (about $48,508).

If the application is rejected, 75% of the amount paid will be refunded.

A gambling license may be denied if:

  • the applicant has been convicted of an offense related to gambling activities, financial fraud, money laundering, etc;
  • the applicant is a natural person under 25 years of age.

It is important to note that none of the licenses obtained can be transferred to another person in any form.

Applications for license renewal must be submitted 3 months before the expiration of your current license.

During the term of your license, the NBA has the right to amend, revoke, or impose new conditions on any type of license to improve compliance with the relevant regulations. For such changes, the authority must notify the licensee in writing in advance and justify the change. Despite the possibility of changes, there is no need to worry about regulatory instability as the regulatory framework in Cyprus is fair for both businesses and consumers.

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Gambling Legislation in Cyprus

The growing popularity of sports betting among Cypriot residents has led to the introduction of regulation of both online and offline betting. In 2012, Cyprus passed a law that legalized sports betting online and in traditional channels. The Betting Law of 2012 established the National Betting Authority (NBA), responsible for processing requests, issuing licenses, conducting audits, and supervising potential bookmakers and online betting operators.

Under current legislation, engaging in online casino gambling in Cyprus is considered illegal and punishable. That said, Cyprus prosecutes both operators and players. The only form of online gambling allowed in Cyprus is internet sports betting while betting on horse racing is not permitted. Cyprus’ infrastructure provides various services for online gambling operators and suppliers, including high-capacity private server racks, customized cloud services, dedicated dedicated servers, and other hosting options.

In addition to the Betting Law, the following regulations govern online gambling:

Also between 2007 and 2018, Cyprus enacted several laws aimed at combating money laundering and terrorist financing. These laws are designed to make the financial market more transparent and secure, as well as to help detect and suppress criminal activity.

The National Betting Authority is the only body authorized to issue licenses to bookmakers. The NBA has the power to revoke or suspend licenses if bookmakers violate betting laws or AML/CFT rules.

As part of its responsibilities, the NBA monitors gaming enterprises and services to ensure that they comply with the standards and regulations of the Cyprus Government. Regular compliance checks are conducted to ensure compliance with the terms of the license. Licensees are required to maintain a full audit trail for each player depositing with the operator, including details of financial transactions and individual bets. Gaming systems, including server software logs, must be available for inspection by third-party auditors. Game rules, results, and payouts must be available to the National Betting Authority for five years.

The NBA of Cyprus supervises bookmakers and gambling to ensure they comply with government standards and regulations. Bookmakers with an NBA license are required to:

  • keep a detailed log for each player who makes a deposit, the log should contain information on financial transactions and player bets;
  • provide access to its gaming systems, including server software logs, for inspection by third-party auditors;
  • retain information on game rules, results, and payouts for five years.

The regulator conducts regular inspections to ensure that betting shops comply with the terms of their licenses.

Taxation of Gambling Companies in Cyprus

According to Article 71 of the Betting Law 2012, gaming companies in Cyprus are liable to pay a combined gaming tax of 13% on their net income. This tax includes:

  • 10% in favor of the State.
  • 3% contribution to the National Betting Authority, of which 2% is distributed to the Cyprus Sports Federations and 1% is allocated to gambling addiction programs.

Although the gambling tax rate in Cyprus may not seem the most favorable compared to other jurisdictions, other tax rates present significant competition. Many companies choose Cyprus as their base because of its low corporate tax rate, which is only 12.5% of their net profits. In addition, there is no tax on income from dividends and interest paid to non-residents of Cyprus, as well as royalties paid to non-residents of Cyprus for rights not used in Cyprus.

Cyprus has also concluded more than 65 international double taxation treaties, which improves cross-border investments and reduces the tax burden for international entrepreneurs whose companies are considered tax residents of Cyprus.

If you are interested in receiving detailed individual advice on obtaining a gambling license in Cyprus, do not hesitate to contact our lawyers.

FAQ about Cyprus Gaming License

How do I get a gambling license in Cyprus?

To obtain a gambling license in this jurisdiction, you need to establish a company, determine the appropriate type of license, prepare the necessary documents, complete an application with the National Betting Authority (NBA), and pay the appropriate fees. Once your application is reviewed and approved, you will receive the appropriate license.

How long does it take to get a gambling license in Cyprus?

The process of applying for a gambling license in Cyprus usually takes 2 to 3 months.

How much does a gaming license cost in Cyprus?

A one-year license for a Class A or Class B betting shop in Cyprus costs €30,000 (approximately $32,339) and a two-year license costs €45,000 (approximately $48,508).

Are there any challenges associated with securing a Cyprus gambling license?

One of the main challenges for those seeking a license is the strict regulations that must be complied with. Additional challenges may arise in the area of financial obligations such as license fees, operating costs, and more. It is also important to consider changes in legislation that both new and existing licensees must adapt to.

Do Cyprus gambling companies undergo auditing processes?

Yes, gambling companies in Cyprus undergo audit processes. These audits may include financial audits, operational audits, and compliance audits to ensure that companies comply with relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards. Audits help to maintain the integrity of gambling operations and protect the interests of both operators and players.

Is gambling regulated in Cyprus?

Yes, under the Betting Law 2012, gambling in Cyprus is regulated by the National Betting Authority (NBA). The NBA regulates various forms of gambling activities including sports betting, online betting, and other gaming services. It issues licenses to operators and monitors their activities to ensure compliance with established rules and standards. Regulation also includes measures to prevent money laundering, protect consumer rights, and promote responsible gambling practices.

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