Delegates and event organizers reported the inaugural Cyprus Gaming (CGS) was a resounding success. This event took place at the Hilton Hotel in Nicosia on September 20 and 21, 2017. The exhibitions and conference focused on land-based and online casinos in Cyprus. Lately, the country has become a potential gambling center in the region.
In the past, casinos were entirely prohibited from operating in the island nation. This was before signing the Integrated Casino Resort (ICR) bill into law. After that, consortiums such as the Hard Rock International, Phasouri Limited and Melco Resorts & Entertainment got their licenses. The biggest integrated resort is under construction in Limassol right now. Melco has also gained approval to acquire the shares of Hard Rock. This would leave Melco with 70.74% of the total stake.
The first CGS was also the first ever event of the industry to take place in Cyprus. The president of Melco’s division for resorts and entertainment was in the attendance, among others. Other notables included a host of speakers, government officials and representatives. Some of important government guests attending included:
- Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- The Cyprus National Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission
- The Invest Cyprus
- Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA)
- The National Betting Authority of Cyprus (NBA)
- The Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus
Many Interesting Discussions
The main panel discussions involved speakers from Melco and Andy Choy. These covered issues like the impact of the ICRD on employment in the region. It is likely that new industry sectors will become active locally. These will serve new facilities, expected to make a profit of E100 million in annual tax revenues.
The ICR will have to import certain experts. However, a large part of the talent required for a successful operation will have to come from home. This means that the University of Nicosia’s Training and Development Unit also had guests present. They were there to learn and take in all the knowledge on offer during the CGS.
Local attendees have expressed optimism. They expect Cyprus to slowly but surely become the region’s land-based and online casino gaming hub. Others, however, have expressed concerns that gambling could become a threat to the island. Cyprus currently has no legal casinos operating on the island. There are some venues operating in the Turkish north. There are also several illegal operations from time to time in the buffer zone controlled by the UN. The event’s panel discussed the current legislation, legal framework, and regulatory bodies.
Discussions on virtual reality in casino games took the central stage. Panelists also touched on crypto-currencies that are becoming more and more important in gaming. Fair practices and data protection, both matters of the EU, were part of regulatory discussions. The privatization of the National Lottery was also a hot topic.
By the end of the conference it became increasingly apparent local authorities provide the support for responsible gaming. They are keen on creating and maintaining the necessary infrastructure. This is what Cyprus needs to rise to the occasion and become a key player in the world of gambling.