By George Psyllides
A BILL on gambling seeks to bolster the police’s capabilities by introducing strict penalties including five years in jail and fines up to €300,000.
The legislation, expected to be passed by parliament before the summer recess, allows authorities to shut down venues were illegal gambling was taking place, even if the case was still pending in court.
House Interior Affairs Committee chairman, AKEL MP Yiannos Lamaris, said the bill aimed to make it easier for authorities to stamp out illegal gambling.
Lamaris said current legislation made it difficult for authorities to prove the illegal use of gambling machines.
The bill allows authorities to shut down an establishment until the case was tried by a court.
It was not unusual for police to raid a place and seize all the equipment only for it to open the next day with new machines.
The bill also provides for jail sentences of up to five years and maximum fines of €300,000.
Ruling DISY MP Andreas Kyprianou said the legislation was a positive development that gave the authorities the power to secure an injunction to suspect the operation of a venue.
He was echoed by Green party deputy Giorgos Perdikis who added that these powers should have been granted to the police a long time ago.