The three-pronged approach of the National Betting Authority, Cyprus

Shirley Pulis Xerxen 9 months ago
The three-pronged approach of the National Betting Authority, Cyprus

Ioanna Fiakkou, Chairwoman of the National Betting Authority (NBA) in Cyprus, delivered the welcome address at the Balkans/CiS Summit being held at the City of Dreams Mediterranean in Limassol. The address dealt with the impact of the regulated market on the economy and public health and the regulator’s three-pronged approach.

The National Betting Authority wants to establish Cyprus as a “fair, safe and transparent investment destination for gambling companies to operate in the industry”. It aims to do so by creating opportunities and expand the current gaming market growth whilst at the same time protecting players and society. The Chairwoman added that recent years have seen a shift in consumer behaviour and today’s society expects companies to adhere to stricter and improved social responsibility.

Growth of the betting industry

Ioanna Fiakkou
Ioanna Fiakkou, Chairwoman, National Gambling Authority, Cyprus

Ionna Fiokku added that the betting industry has witnessed enormous economic growth. Converted in numbers, this adds up to a total pay in of €268 million during the first quarter of 2023, an increase of 21% compared to the same quarter of 2022. In 2016, the total pay in amounted to 0.99% of the GDP, while in 2022 the percentage reached 3.55% of the GDP.

The strategic goal of the Republic of Cyprus is to work towards comprehensive and effective gambling regulations and create a prosperous and sustainable environment for gambling operators and investors alike, without however compromising the players and society’s protection from gambling-related harm.

Efficiency

One of the pillars of the regulator in Cyprus is to “provide quality and efficient services to licensed operators and stakeholders”. A crucial goal of the Cypriot regulator, Fiakkou added, is upskilling and providing expertise to industry professionals and relevant stakeholders in gambling related topics. She announced that the implementation of the NBA’s Gambling Academy is already in place and the Academy will start operating at the end of this year.

Embracing technology is another way to increase efficiency. The National Betting Authority is implementing its software system and has already substantially upgraded the infrastructure of its information systems. Furthermore, the Authority plans to introduce a betting monitoring reporting system towards the end of the year.

Compliance

The second pillar of the regulator is to implement fully and comply with the existing legal framework. Fiakkou talks about changes that are happening in the regulatory landscape in the near future, which include strengthening the role of the NBA which will supervise the Games of Chance monopoly. Additionally, the chairwoman added that “the NBA has drafted legislation for the licensing and regulation for the provision of land-based bingo services, and further on suggestions will be put forward for the regulation of other gambling services, without nevertheless, disrupting the established gambling services that are under a monopoly regime.” The changes and improvements will eventually bring a marked decrease to licensees’ overall compliance cost.

Sustainability

The final pillar in the three-pronged approach adopted by the National Betting Authority in Cyprus is to advance the sustainable development of the gambling industry. Our main vision is to safeguard that gambling services remain in the sphere of entertainment and fun for all the players and eliminate any gambling-related harm. Fiakkou mentioned that “regulators have to cope with increased public demands and increased regulatory measures for public protection from gambling related harm.” To this end, the NBA has implemented its Safer Gambling Strategy based on the public health model, adopting the framework of approaching the negative consequences related to gambling as issues of public health. The strategy includes the submission of a proposal to the Health Minister for the inclusion of gambling addiction as part of the national health services.

“Keeping players and communities safe while realizing the social and economic benefits of gambling is at the heart of a public health approach to safer gambling.”

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