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Two sides ‘brought closer through gambling’

By Stefanos Evripidou

Resourceful entrepreneurs in the mixed village of Pyla have found a way to unite Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots using as a common denominator… gambling.

According to a front page article in Thursday’s Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika, a bicommunal casino has been set up in Pyla, operated jointly by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

The paper writes that while a United Cyprus has yet to be established, the Cypriots in Pyla have created the first ‘united casino’, attracting great interest from punters, particularly those south of the buffer zone.

According to Afrika, the casino has been in operation for five months now, opening originally as an internet cafe. It now has ten croupiers allegedly working there. The majority of the customers are Greek Cypriots.

The owner of the casino is a known Turkish Cypriot businessman from Famagusta, said the paper, adding that he cooperates on a range of different issues with Greek Cypriots and has close ties with the Turkish Cypriot National Unity Party (UBP), representing the right-wing of the political spectrum in the north.

Afrika reports that when police of the breakaway regime go to the casino, the owner says it belongs to the Greek Cypriots, and when the Cyprus Republic police enter the casino, they say it belongs to the Turkish Cypriots.

The author of the article writes: “The smugglers, the gamblers are united… Gangs are being formed… The local mafia is united… But the forces of peace cannot be united!”


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