Cyprus Enjoys Increase in Sports Betting Revenue, but Shrinkage Could Be Coming

Gambling and betting activity in Cyprus is on the rise. The National Betting Authority (NBA), the Cypriot betting regulator, provided an update on revenue for the sports betting segment last Friday but then, on Monday, told government officials that stricter controls are needed.

Cyprus flag waving in the wind
Cyprus flag waving in the wind. The Mediterranean country’s sports betting industry continues to grow. (Image: Pond5)

The total gross gaming revenue (GGR) for 2022 reached €959.55 million (US$1.02 billion), according to the NBA. This was a significant increase of 22% compared to 2021.

The GGR of Class A (land-based betting) and Class B (online betting) licensees was €296.6 million (US$317.24 million) in the fourth quarter. A year earlier, the amount was €226.31 million (US$242.06 million), reflecting an increase of 31%.

Q4 2022 Proves Beneficial

Of the total revenues for Q4, €84.09 million (US$89.94 million) pertains to Class A recipients, while €212.51 million (US$227.3 million) went to those in the Class B segment. The gross revenue of Class A recipients increased by 20% compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, while the total for 2022 recorded an increase of 34%.

The gross receipts of Class B reflected a year-on-year increase of 36%. At the same time, the full-year 2022 gross receipts of the segment increased by 10% compared to the full-year 2021 results.

Total Class A and B bettor winnings for 2022 also showed a 22% increase over the total for the year 2021. A steady upward trend continued in Q4, amounting to €265.67 million (U$284.16 million), for an increase of 34% compared to the fourth quarter of 2021.

For 2022, there was a combined increase of 17% in Class A and B betting earnings compared to 2021. In just Q4, this amount was €30.93 million (US$33.08 million), reflecting an increase of 11%.

Specifically, Class A betting receipts amounted to €13.72 million (US$14.67 million), marking a slight year-on-year decrease of 3%. Conversely, Class B betting was €17.2 million (US$18.39 million), a jump of 26% over the fourth quarter of 2021.

This was a reflection of the number of physical properties. The total of Class A properties dropped by 2% compared to Q4 2021. In particular, licensed properties reached 479 throughout Cyprus, with Nicosia and its 166 properties maintaining the lead.

Limassol was next, with 142. Larnaca ranks third, with 86, and Paphos and Famagusta follow with 52 and 33, respectively.

Time To Pump The Brakes

The 2022 revenue was 3.55% of the total GDP in Cyprus, almost four times what it was six years ago. The performance provided the government with €11.75 million (US$12.56 million) in tax revenue alone, but changes to the industry are coming.

Like in many countries, the focus in Cyprus is not on revenue generation, but on responsible gambling. As such, the NBA is preparing a number of new initiatives, including addiction recognition and addiction treatment programs.

A new self-exclusion program is on its way, as well, to help those who feel they need to take a break from gambling. Part of this will automatically include every eligible Cypriot who currently participates in the government’s Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) program.

In other words, those who receive financial assistance from the government will automatically be self-excluded, according to the NBA. There has been no clarification on whether this list, which reportedly covers all games of chance, includes lottery purchases.

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