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Cyprus Says Casinos Could Ring Up $64M

kazinoBeginning what could be a long recession and economic crisis, and under austerity measures, Cyprus is planning to lift its ban on casinos in a frantic bid to find cash wherever it can, including gambling, Online Poker reported. The government said the establishments could bring in as much as 50 million euros ($64 million) annually in taxes.
President Nicos Anastasiades will have to go against the powerful Greek Orthodox Church which is opposed to casinos, although some 20 operate in the Turkish-occupied northern third of the island and are a lure even to Greek-Cypriots who still travel across the UN-patrolled buffer zone that runs through the country to spend money at the casinos.
Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu said that, “The fact that our southern neighbours have gone into this kind of crisis does not please us. This may be one of the factors that is likely to delay a settlement. It may also force our good friend Mr. Anastasiades to spend all his energy on economic problems and have less time to devote to the negotiation process,” talks to reunify the island divided in 1974 when Turkish troops invaded unlawfully.
The government, which is awaiting a 10 billion euros ($13 billion) bailout from international lenders and is so desperate it is confiscating up to 80 percent of bank deposits over 100,000 euros ($130,00) is now hoping to have its first casino up and running within two years, Minister of Tourism George Lakkotrypis said.
Back in 2007, a government sponsored study was carried out to determine the potential benefits of starting a casino industry in Cyprus, with results estimating that it could be a very lucrative venture but politicians weren’t ready to take on the church.

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