Cyprus, one of the island states in the Mediterranean Sea, is close to Egypt, Greece, and Turkey. The Republic of Cyprus is a democratic state with a presidential system of government. The island is the third largest and most populous island in the Mediterranean with a little over 1.1 million people. The official languages are Greek, English, and Turkish.

As Cyprus is a member of the European Union, the main currency on the island is the euro. The agricultural sector of the economy is gradually giving way to the service sector. The country is known for its stable economic environment, balanced regulation, and high per capita income. These factors make Cyprus an attractive center for international investments, including gambling. Although its legal framework may be more flexible than other European countries, Cyprus strictly adheres to all relevant EU directives and aims to maintain high standards and safety in the gaming industry.

The Cypriot banking system is also known for its high levels of reliability as it is regulated by the Central Bank of Cyprus by European Union standards. Cyprus banks provide a wide range of services in English and other popular languages, including international transfers, loans, business cards, insurance, internet banking, and much more. The country strictly observes the principles of confidentiality in the banking sector, not passing information about customers to third parties without their consent or a court order. This is particularly attractive to entrepreneurs who value the privacy, security, and stability provided by European Union banks.

Advantages of obtaining a Cyprus Gambling License

Obtaining a gambling license in Cyprus offers several advantages for online gambling companies:

EU membership
Cyprus is a member of the European Union, and a Cyprus gambling license allows operators access to the EU market.

Favorable tax rates
Cyprus provides favorable tax conditions for companies in the gambling industry. The corporate tax rate is competitive, making the country attractive for online gambling.

Reputation and credibility
A gambling license from Cyprus enhances the reputation and credibility of an online gambling operator. A license indicates compliance with strict regulatory standards and can inspire confidence in players and business partners.

Stable regulatory environment
Cyprus maintains a stable and well-regulated environment for the gambling industry. This stability provides a predictable legal framework for operators, reducing the uncertainties associated with legal compliance.

Effective licensing process
Cyprus has established a relatively efficient licensing process. By maintaining high standards, regulators aim to simplify the application and approval process, allowing operators to start operations more quickly.

Technology infrastructure
Cyprus has a strong technological infrastructure, including reliable internet connectivity. This is crucial for the smooth operation of online gambling platforms and for ensuring a positive user experience.

Consumer protection
The regulatory structure in Cyprus emphasizes consumer protection, ensuring that operators adhere to responsible gaming practices. This can be attractive to players who value a safe and secure online gambling environment.

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Requirements for getting a Cyprus Gambling License

Obtaining an online gambling license in Cyprus involves a structured application process and compliance with specific requirements set by the National Betting Authority (NBA). The list of requirements includes:

  • registration of a company with shares in Cyprus whose main activity is gambling;
  • if the company is not registered in Cyprus, it is required to either open a branch office or enter into a partnership agreement with a Cypriot company;
  • residence in Cyprus. Operators wishing to provide their services to Cypriot players must be residents of Cyprus. In case the company is a foreign legal entity, a local director whose domicile is in Cyprus must be appointed to deal with the competent authorities of the country and enter into contracts on its behalf;
  • an impeccable reputation of the applicant and a high financial level of the company to ensure timely payments to players;
  • a minimum paid-up share capital for the applicant company of €500,000 (approximately US$538,982). This requirement applies to both Cypriot and foreign companies;
  • opening a bank account with a bank in one of the banks in Cyprus, into which the operator will have to deposit funds from players. Licensed online gambling operators will only be allowed to make payments to players through payment systems approved by the NBA;
  • a bank guarantee from a bank in Cyprus or another EU member state for 550,000 euros (approximately $592,880) valid for six months after the license is granted. This guarantee obligates the bank to pay any amount that the licensee fails to pay to the player who wins the bet, as well as to pay taxes to the Cypriot government and NBA dues;
  • adherence to the principles of protection of minors, as well as controlling the content and distribution of promotional materials and venues.

In addition, applicants for a Class B license are required to attach to their application information the availability of a backup server in Cyprus. This server must be linked to the main server and perform real-time backup of all necessary information, as required by the Cyprus National Betting Service. In addition, the characteristics and use of the equipment must be clearly defined and may be reviewed by the NBA as necessary.

Process of obtaining a Gambling License in Cyprus

Application for a gambling license in Cyprus is only possible for companies with shares registered in Cyprus. To obtain or renew any type of license, an application must be made to the NBA. If the same person is applying for Class A and Class B betting licenses, the applications are submitted and processed separately as individual applications.

The application must contain the following information:

  • the type of license to be obtained;
  • the mailing address in Cyprus;
  • the identity and place of residence of the ultimate beneficiary, the managing officer, and the owner of the substantial interest, in the case of an application by an individual, or the authorized representative, if a legal entity is the applicant;
  • the terms and conditions based on which the applicant intends to provide betting services to punters;
  • financial information;
  • description of internal procedures for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing;
  • certificates of criminal records of shareholders, directors, and ultimate beneficiaries;
  • information on the financial and other interests of the ultimate beneficiaries, directors, and owners of a significant portion of the company’s shares.

A one-year license for a Class A or Class B betting shop costs €30,000 (about $32 339) and a two-year license costs €45 000 (about $48 508).

If the application is rejected, 75% of the fees paid are refunded, which represents favorable terms compared to other European jurisdictions.

The Commission may refuse to issue a license in the following cases:

  • the applicant has been convicted of a relevant offense;
  • the applicant is a natural person under 25 years of age.

It is important to emphasize that none of the licenses granted are transferable or assignable to another person in any form.

Applications for license renewal must be submitted 3 months before the expiration of your current license. During the term of your license, the NBA may amend, revoke, or impose new conditions on any type of license to improve compliance with the relevant regulations. In the event of such changes, the authority must first notify the licensee in writing and justify the changes. However, despite this, there is no need to worry about regulatory instability as the overall regulatory framework in Cyprus is completely fair for both businesses and consumers.

Types of Gambling Licenses in Cyprus

According to the Betting Law 2012, there are two main types of gambling licenses in Cyprus, each for different aspects of the gambling industry:

  1. Class A bookmaker’s license, which regulates land-based betting on sports games. The license allows all betting except horse racing and online activities.
  2. Class B bookmaker license, which regulates online betting and gambling, excluding slot machines, online casinos, and lotteries.

The NBA maintains a register of all gambling licensees in Cyprus, including information provided in applications, and publishes a list of these licensees on its official website.

How to open a Gambling Company in Cyprus

Setting up a new company in Cyprus is a relatively simple process that can take as little as 4-5 working days. Starting a gambling company in Cyprus involves several steps:

  • Stage 1

Selecting a suitable organizational structure.

To set up a gambling company in Cyprus, the most common form of legal entity is a private limited company (Ltd), which non-resident foreigners can establish under Chapter 113 of the Cyprus Companies Law (2012). The number of shareholders in the company can vary from 1 to 50 and they do not have to visit Cyprus in person to register the company. A private limited company (Ltd) must have at least one director and a secretary.

  • Stage 2

Approval of the company name by the Registrar of Companies (RCOR).

  • Stage 3

Preparation of the necessary documents.

The list of documents for incorporation includes:

  • application for registration completed and signed by the founders;
  • articles of association and business plan of the company;
  • list of shareholders and directors;
  • a document confirming the consent of the persons holding the position of directors to assume their duties;
  • certified copies of personal documents of the founders and directors;
  • company address documents – lease agreement or proof of ownership of the company’s office in Cyprus;
  • company address approval documents – a letter from the building owner or the tenant’s consent to use the company address.

If you wish your Memorandum and Articles of Association to be written in a language other than Greek (e.g. English), an official translation certified by a sworn translator in Cyprus is required.

  • Stage 4

Open a bank account in Cyprus for your gambling company, ensuring all necessary financial arrangements are in place.

  • Stage 5

Guarantee the minimum authorized capital required by the NBA.

  • Stage 6

Pay the company’s registration fees to RCOR.

The fee for a normal registration is 165 euros (about $177). For the expedited process, you will need to pay an additional 100 euros (about 107 dollars).

Once the company is registered, corporate certificates should be obtained from RCOR.

Gambling consultant in Cyprus


Inhyuk Suh

Cyprus Regulations on Gambling

The popularity of sports betting among Cypriots has led to the regulation of online and offline betting. In 2012, sports betting, both online and offline, was legislated in Cyprus. Under the Betting Law of 2012, the National Betting Authority (NBA) was established to process applications, issue licenses, conduct audits, and oversee potential betting shops and online betting operators.

Under current legislation, online casino gambling in Cyprus is considered illegal and is punishable by law. Unlike most countries, Cyprus prosecutes both operators and players. The only form of online gambling allowed in Cyprus is online sports betting, with betting on horse racing not permitted. Cyprus’ infrastructure provides a variety of services for online gambling operators and providers, including private high-capacity racks, private cloud services, specialized dedicated servers, and other hosting options.

In addition to the Betting Law, online gambling in Cyprus is governed by the following regulations:

Cyprus also applies the laws on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing enacted between 2007 and 2018. These laws aim to protect the financial market from criminal activity by identifying and reporting suspicious transactions.

The National Betting Authority has the authority to review all filings and make final decisions on them. The NBA may revoke or temporarily suspend a license in case of violation of the provisions outlined in Article 24 of the Betting Law and as part of its policy to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

As part of its responsibilities, the NBA monitors gaming enterprises and services to ensure that they comply with the standards and regulations of the Cyprus Government. Regular compliance checks are conducted to ensure compliance with the terms of the license. Licensees are required to maintain a full audit trail for each player depositing with the operator, including details of financial transactions and individual bets. Gaming systems, including server software logs, must be available for inspection by third-party auditors. Game rules, results, and payouts must be available to the National Betting Authority for five years.

Taxation rules for Gambling Companies in Cyprus

Gambling companies in Cyprus, according to Article 71 of the Betting Law of 2012, must pay a combined gambling tax of 13% on their net income. This tax consists of:

  • 10% of net revenue as gambling tax in favor of the State;
  • 3% contribution to the National Betting Authority, of which 2% is distributed to the Cypriot sports federations and 1% is allocated to gambling addiction programs.

While the gambling tax rate in Cyprus may not be the most favorable compared to other European countries, other tax rates prove to be very competitive. Many companies prefer to choose Cyprus as their home jurisdiction because of the low corporate tax rate, which is only 12.5% on their net profits. In addition, there is no income tax on dividends and interest paid to non-residents of Cyprus, as well as royalties paid to non-residents of Cyprus for rights not used in Cyprus.

Cyprus also has over 65 international double tax treaties which facilitate cross-border investment and reduce the tax burden for international entrepreneurs whose companies are tax resident in Cyprus.

If you would like detailed individual advice on obtaining a gambling license in Cyprus, do not hesitate to contact our lawyers. Get a comprehensive consultation today.

FAQ about Cyprus Gaming License

How can I get a gambling license in Cyprus?

To obtain a gambling license in Cyprus, set up a company, select the appropriate type of license, prepare documents and applications to the NBA, and pay the fees. After reviewing and approving the application, you will be issued a license.

How long does it take to get a gambling license in Cyprus?

The processing of a gambling license request in Cyprus usually takes 2-3 months.

What’s the cost of a gaming license in Cyprus?

The cost of an annual license for a Class A or Class B betting shop is €30 000 (approximately $32 339), and for a two-year license, you have to pay €45 000 (approximately $48 508). This is just the cost of the gambling license. Depending on your specific situation, additional fees may apply.

Are there challenges in getting a gambling license in Cyprus?

The main difficulty for those wishing to obtain a license is the strict regulations that require unconditional compliance. Additional difficulties arise with financial obligations such as license fees, operating costs, and others. It is also important to take into account changes in legislation that both new and existing licensees must adapt to.

Do Cyprus gambling companies have to go through audits?

Yes, Cypriot companies that specialize in providing gambling services are required to undergo audits. Regulatory bodies such as the NBA often require regular audits to ensure that gambling operators comply with legal and regulatory standards.

Audits can cover various aspects including financial records, player transactions, adherence to responsible gaming practices, and overall compliance with the terms of the license issued. These audits are important to maintain the transparency, fairness, and integrity of the gambling industry.

What is the tax on gambling in Cyprus?

Gambling companies in Cyprus are subject to several tax rules, including:

  • a flat corporate income tax of 12.5% on net profits;
  • a combined gambling tax of 13% on net profits.

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