Cyprus Mail
Letters Opinion

No EU country has given such damaging casino concessions

That the Republic of Cyprus will allow a large number of its citizens becoming victims of gambling addiction is already statistically a fact.

According to the World Health Organisation gambling addiction has been defined a sickness.

On March 19, 2018 the Cyprus National Betting Authority held a press conference and announced the results of a National Prevalence Study according to which 13 per cent (51,967) persons are considered as having developed a possible problematic gambling addiction.  Another 6 per cent or 23,985 have been identified as already pathologic gamblers.

Therefore 75.952 of the citizens of the Republic or one in five Cypriots have been affected by this sickness.

According to a study carried out by the Association Confronting Social Problems there is no European country with such high gambling addiction figures.

Let it be stressed that the study by the National Betting Authority was carried out between November 2017 and January 2018, when we were not infected by the actual arrival of casinos which will result in more addiction because there will be a casino in every town, which no other country in the world has, and underage children will have access to non-gaming areas so minors will be able to participate through any adult.

President Anastasiades appears not to have been informed by his minister Lakkotrypis that the Commissioner for the Protection of the Child, Leda Koursoumba has issued an announcement that the participation of minors is illegal, since Cyprus has signed the UN declaration for the protection of minors from this, which supersedes the law unfortunately adopted by the parliament.

Smoking will also be permitted in the playing sections of the Casino, contributing to the creation of lung cancer, and there will be no control on the quantity of alcohol a person may consume.

There are many more damaging concessions, but space does not permit us as we have to comment on a new unbelievable concession demanded by Melco’s Mr Ballantyne.

The EU law and Cyprus law specify that: “Whoever advertises betting which implies that this promotes or is related with social or economic success or the solution of any personal, economic or social problems, is guilty of an offence and in case of conviction is liable to a six months prison sentence or fine of €30.000 or both.”  Unfortunately, this law is presently ignored by betting companies in Cyprus with impunity.

It looks like the appetite of our casino masters has been widely opened because Mr Ballantyne has stated in your publication “that they are in discussion with the authorities asking for the relaxation of the advertising regulations”.

God forbid, if our government has dared start such discussions we have become the obedient servants of the casino people who believe they can get what they want, which has been the case up to now.

Nicos Rossos, Economist MA, Limassol

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