Cyprus Boosting Tourism Revenue Through Gaming
Cyprus has a new tourism strategy whose goals are to double the arrivals of visitors, triple tourism revenue and to draw over €20 billion in investments by 2030.
These ambitious plans rely on the gaming industry and will depend on the business results of the island’s operators.
The entire hospitality industry in the country is undergoing a complex process of reforms, modeled after another Mediterranean country, Malta.
Colossal Casino Project
The first step was made in autumn last year, with the adoption of a legislation that allowed the construction of the first Cypriot land-based casinos. The project attracted Melco and Hard Rock in an investment worth more than €600 million. The construction has already started, and while Hard Rock left the project in the meantime, new partner emerged in the form of locally-based CNS Group.
The luxurious venue, which will be opened by 2019 will consist of five resorts. The main one will be located in Limassol, with four smaller ones in Larnaca, Famagusta, Paphos and the country’s capital, Nicosia.
This project, the first of its kind on the Continent, will have 500 guest rooms, 100 tables and a minimum of 1,000 gaming machines.
Upon its completion, the casino complex will become one of the leading tourist venues on the island. Attracting a large number of visitor will spur the further development and bring a substantial increase in revenue Cyprus generates from tourism.
Changes Still Needed
There is another important requirement for the realization of the aforementioned strategy, and that is the arrival of online operators.
Five years ago, the Government approved the legal basis that enabled sports betting operators to enter the local market. However, the country’s betting authority took four years to start implementing this framework in practice and allow interested parties to apply for a license.
The first online operator to receive a license was bet365 and by the end of the first quarter of this year, the sector recorded revenue of around €3.5 million.
However, some changes are still needed in the country’s gaming industry. Apart from making its online license application process much easier, Cyprus should resolve the problem with a tax on revenue which currently stands at 10%.