Active players: 400.000
Currency: Euro (€)
Regulated gambling products: Fixed-odds sports betting, casino games, lottery
Operator types: Online betting sites, land-based betting shops & casinos, national lottery (operated by OPAP)
Designated authority: National Betting Authority (NBA)
Cyprus is an island nation located in the eastern Mediterranean sea. The Cypriots are avid bettors and the domestic market has been relatively prosperous since 2012 when the government decided to regulate gambling in full. Licensing for potential operators has been mandatory and online betting in Cyprus is legal. However, it comes with some limitations. More specifically; players who opt for licensed bookies can only enjoy fixed-odds betting. The legal framework prohibits exchange betting, horse racing and greyhound betting. The same applies to online casino and poker.
On top of that, any player who wishes to place a bet on a local match; must combine it with 3 more selections of international games. All of the above have resulted in the increasing flow of players towards offshore bookmakers. Those bookies offer a wide array of daily events in every sport; appealing bonuses and the option to enjoy online casino slots & games.
Cyprus betting - 5 things to know
- The legal gambling age for Cypriots is 18 years old
- 75% of all Cypriots aged 15 and above participate in one or more forms of gambling
- Players’ winnings aren’t taxed; the only exception are OPAP winnings over € 5,000
- Online gambling is fully regulated; since the establishment of the Betting Law in 2012
- Online bookies with a license pay a 13% tax, of which 10% goes to the government, 2% to sporting bodies and 1% to responsible gambling organizations
Best betting sites in Cyprus
The upcoming shortlist comprises selected Cyprus betting sites. They offer high odds, a wide array of betting markets, exclusive bonuses and an abundance of payment options.
Online betting Cyprus: The law framework
Until 2012, several international bookmakers accepted Cypriot players; within the then unregulated market. The government voted the first Betting Law of 2012 to set basic rules and regulate the domestic online betting market. The newly founded National Betting Authority (NBA) has been issuing licenses to new Cyprus betting sites. It has been also imposing fines and monitoring all legitimate online operators. It has also issued a blacklist. This contains more than 2.500 domains of unlicensed online sportsbooks and casinos.
There are two types of licenses. Class A for land-based betting services and Class B for online betting services. Any operator that offers in Cyprus football betting and other specific sports-related betting products; has to meet one out of two basic requirements. Either to be registered under a company with shares in the country’s financial market; or to be physically registered abroad and partner up with a Cypriot company. Any licensee can renew its domestic license yearly or every two years. The applicable fee is € 30,000 for one year; or € 45,000 for two years.
The latest law amendment of 2019 prohibits Class B licensees from offering exchange betting, greyhound & horse racing betting and online casino products; such as slots and poker. Typically, violators of those mentioned above, or any unlicensed operator; face up to 5 years of imprisonment and a € 300,000 fine. However, the government cannot enforce those kinds of punishments on offshore online bookmakers. So, naturally, there is an increasing number of players opting for offshore bookies for two significant reasons. Firstly, they have no limitations on the betting markets they offer along with online casino products. Secondly, there is no record of fines or prosecutions towards players who open an account there.
Currently, there are 10+ online operators holding a Class B license issued by the National Betting Authority. Among them are Bet365, Parimatch, Stoiximan, Meridianbet, Fonbet, BetonAlfa, Ubet, MegaBet Plus, Winmasters and OPAP. Most of them are well-established brands with years of experience. Moreover, they offer many features to attract players’ attention. Nonetheless, they are limited by the current law when it comes to markets and lack a casino product. Since in Cyprus betting online is an essential part of citizens’ everyday lives, and since they are left with only a few domestically licensed operators; they have widely turned towards international bookies.
Besides the aforementioned betting sites Cyprus NBA has licensed; there is an abundance of international brands accepting Cypriots. Although there is an active blacklist containing many domains of unlicensed operators; no strict measures are taken against players who choose to bet on them. They offer a complete sportsbook product together with a casino. Apart from that; they are not subject to the domestic 13% taxation. As a result, they offer unlimited bonuses; compared to the local Cyprus bookmakers. Plus, players get to keep the whole amount of their winnings.
From the players’ point of view; things are straightforward in the Cyprus betting landscape. All Cypriots over 18 can create an account. They can do so either on the licensed online bookies or on the international ones. Accessing unlicensed online betting sites in Cyprus is typically forbidden. The NBA has a long list of over 2.500 blocked domains. However, there are no real risks for bettors that use these websites.
Furthermore, the NBA imposed a new rule due to a high number of documented fixed matches in various Cypriot competitions. The rule states that any bet on a local game has to be combined with 3 other selections on international games; the so-called “3+1”. Bettors are not very happy with this development. However, this is not considered a major obstacle; since the government does not tax their winnings from sports betting. The same applies to offshore bookmakers.
In Cyprus betting sites offer a wide range of payment options for players to top up their accounts. Cypriots vastly prefer the classic bank wire and debit cards as the most widely used payment methods. The following popular choices are e-wallets like Skrill, Neteller and Paysafe. They can guarantee fast payouts. All transactions are usually completed within 24 hours and with minimum fees. Last but not least, on licensed bookies several local payments are available. E-wallets OKTOpay and Blueberry are among them.
The Cypriot government recently amended the existing Betting Law of 2012 with minor changes taking effect. However, there was no change on the 13% tax rate that all licensed betting sites in Cyprus have to pay. So, this is still a deterrent factor for many reputable brands who are thinking of applying for a domestic license; especially when taking into account the island’s relatively small population. Additionally, the limited betting markets and the prohibition of online casinos on local brands; forced Cypriot bettors to turn to non-licensed bookies. Considering the government’s attitude towards online gambling; things will not likely change any time soon.
The complete list of bookmakers in Cyprus
After thoroughly examining the local betting landscape; we now list the most prominent Cyprus betting sites. Just take a look and pick the best one for you.
Online betting in Cyprus has been legal and regulated since 2012. Players can either choose licensed bookies or international brands that accept Cypriots. On the other hand, online casinos are prohibited, and players can only access them through international operators.
In Cyprus, the online betting landscape is welcoming for every player. Whether you’ve been playing on local or offshore bookmakers, no taxes are applied to your winnings.
The legal gambling age for every player in Cyprus is 18 years, both in licensed land-based shops and on online sportsbooks.
You can easily find the domestic First Division on the best betting sites Cyprus offers. However, if you’ve been playing at licensed bookies, note that any bet on a local game has to be combined with three other selections on international games (3+1). This limitation doesn’t exist at offshore sportsbooks where you can freely bet as you like.
The National Betting Authority (NBA) is the domestic regulator responsible for supervising all operators, issuing licenses, imposing fines and blacklisting unlicensed bookmakers.
Bet365 cy constitutes one of the best betting sites in Cyprus operating under a local license. It offers more than 20 sports to bet on. The odds are very competitive and there is a vibrant list of bonuses for both new and existing players.