Cyprus Mail

Gaming authority collects millions in casino revenue


The gaming authority and casino regulator has collected millions of euros from the casino, since its opening day, the chairman of the authority Christos Mavrellis told the House finance committee on Monday.

According to Mavrellis, the authority received around €90 million from the casino while briefing the house committee about the authority’s budget. He also noted that the authority plans to hire its first permanent employees this year, with 35 approved positions.

Regarding the casino’s performance, Mavrellis stated that its revenues to date have amounted to €421 million. The state has collected €63 million in taxes and €25 million in annual license fees, bringing the total amount contributed to the state’s coffers to around €90 million.

He added that the authority is closely monitoring the accounts of both the group and the company managing the casino, noting that the casino has not been “very profitable” thus far.

However, he mentioned that there is a large investment with depreciation and a significant loan. He highlighted that with the opening of the resort, in the initial months, “seemed to be doing very well”.

Mavrellis noted that the conflict in Israel has affected the casino’s profitability for some months, but recently, Israelis seem to be returning. Addressing the social consequences, he mentioned that the operation of legal casinos has reduced the operation of illegal ones.

He noted that there were 12 illegal casinos in Paphos, with many more operating in the British Bases.

He added that there was a request to expand the Nicosia regional casino and add table games to discourage people from gambling in the north.

“We enforce responsible gambling, we monitor it with inspectors,” he said, noting that the Authority is working with the Addiction Authority and KENTHEA, at the ‘Faros’ unit in Ayios Athanasios, which offers advice and assistance to individuals who may have been affected by gambling.

Regarding preventive actions, he said they are involved in European and international organisations on the issue.

Mavrellis said that this year, the organisation plans to recruit its first permanent employees. Although the establishment plan provides for 47 posts, only 35 have been approved for filling.

Meanwhile, the head of the national betting authority Ioanna Fiakou said that the authority’s revenues for 2024, based on its budget, are projected to be increased by 111.2 per cent or €28 million, mainly due to expected revenue increase from the negotiated contract with Opap Cyprus.

Revenues for 2024 are estimated at €53.1 million, while for 2025-2026, further increases to €56.8 million and €60.6 million, respectively, are anticipated.

Expenditure amounts to €53 million, also increasing by €28 million, as part of the revenue is attributed to the state as expenditure. For 2025-26, expenditures are expected to rise to €56.2 million and €59.8 million respectively.

She added that 5,500 on-site inspections were carried out in 2023, while the Authority dealt with around 150 complaints a year from the public and around 60 complaints involving players engaged in illegal activity. There was a 15 per cent increase in turnover in 2023 compared to 2022 and a similar increase expected for 2024.

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