To fully reap the benefits of casinos, Cyprus needs an effective mechanism that will ensure safe and responsible gambling, deputy minister for tourism Savvas Perdios said on Saturday.

The minister’s speech was read by representative Panicos Hadjiloizou at the inauguration of “Pharos”, a new prevention and treatment centre for problematic and pathological gambling in Ayios Athanasios, Limassol.

The centre will offer help to adults facing negative consequences from gambling, in collaboration with the National Addictions Authority and NGOs like Kenthea, who will contribute their expertise and resources.

In his speech, Perdios said that with Pharos, the Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission has made an investment in prevention, “which as we all know is the best cure”.

He added that the only way for Cyprus to fully benefit from the establishment of more casinos is to establish a comprehensive mechanism that will deal with the potential negative effects of gambling.

Even though the largest casino resort, not only in Cyprus but also in the wider region will open in Limassol, more licenced casinos will operate in other districts,” he said, “therefore all future challenges must be dealt with on a national level”.

This must be a team effort, bringing together the state, local authorities, non-governmental organizations and beyond, he said.

Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission head Christos Mavrellis thanked the relevant authorities for helping protect those vulnerable to gambling addiction.

For his part, National Addictions Authority head Christos Mina said the issue is being approached in a holistic, measured and mindful way.