Betting activity has returned to pre-pandemic levels while generating close to €12.9 million in revenue for public coffers last year, according to figures made public by the national betting authority on Tuesday.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, the comprehensive income (pay in) for class A bookmakers (physical betting) and class B (internet betting) totaled €226.3m — up by 5 per cent over the corresponding quarter of 2019 (€215.5m) and by 16 per cent over the corresponding quarter of 2020 (€195.5m).

For all of 2021, comprehensive income from betting was €783.5m – up from €620.8m in the pandemic-year 2020 and €766.7 in 2019.

Revenue for the state from the 10 per cent betting tax was €2.78m, in the fourth quarter and €9.9m for all of last year. The state also netted an additional €2.97m in 2021 from the 3 per cent contribution under a provision in the Betting Authority law, requiring bookmakers to pay a 3 per cent of net revenue contribution. Of this, 1.5 per cent is allocated to the national football federation, 0.5 per cent to other Cypriot team sports federations, while the remaining 1 per cent is used by the Authority to support programmes for the protection of young people and players.

According to the breakdown, of the comprehensive income from betting, €70.3m was for class A bookmakers – an increase of 16 per cent over the corresponding quarter in 2020 and a drop of 19 per cent over the same period in 2019. For class B, it was €155.9m – up 15 per cent on the corresponding quarter in 2020 and 21 per cent over the same quarter in 2019.

The pay-out also rose by 19 per cent over the same quarter the previous year to €198.4m with class B or internet betting accounting for the lion’s share of €142.2m.

The number of licensed bookmakers remained stable at 487 islandwide, with Nicosia accounting for 168, Limassol for 148, Larnaca for 85, Paphos for 51 and the Famagusta district for 35.

They employed 1,336 staff, 9 per cent more than in the same period in 2020.

Furthermore, the number of gambling sites blocked rose by 2 per cent compared with the third quarter of 2021, with 335 illegal sites blacklisted by the Authority.

In a statement, Ioanna Fiakkou, president of the NBA said that the fourth quarter results reflect the growth prospects of the betting sector which recovered with a fast pace from the impact of the pandemic and the restrictive measures.

“The National Betting Authority’s aim is to further the sector by strengthening supervision and through the introduction of innovative tools and technologies, always with the aim to protect the vulnerable groups and the general public,” Fiakkou added.