Cyprus Gaming Regulator Announces Study of Cypriot Betting

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 | Written by April Bergman
Cyprus Gaming Regulator Announces Study of Cypriot Betting

The National Betting Authority (NBA) announced on Monday it was conducting the first quantitative study of the effects of gambling in Cyprus. Chairwoman Ioanna Fiakou said that the gaming regulator wanted to devise gaming policies that will protect the public and reduce “problematic engagement” in Cypriot gambling.

Ioanna Fiokou announced that the research would be conducted by Insights Market Research (IMR), a research group associated with the University of Nicosia, the largest postsecondary school in Cyprus.

The study will conduct research over a 2-month period starting on October 25, so the IMR could release its finding in early-2018. Chairwoman Fiokou said that those findings could lead the National Betting Authority to forge new responsible gaming policies for the country, while streamlining the country’s new land-based and online gambling industry.

Betting Law 2012

The NBA was established by the Betting Law 2012, which regulated land-based and online gambling on the island nation. Since the Betting Law was passed, Cyprus announced a licensing process for brick-and-mortar casinos.

Betting Law 2012 created a complicated set of gambling laws, which banned certain activities, while allowing others in the same sector. Most online gambling is illegal in Cyprus, but not all of it. Internet companies which operate under the Betting Law 2012, for instance, do not need to

The Betting Law placed a ban on online casinos, poker sites, and sport betting exchanges. Fixed-odds online sports betting was legalized. After years of studying the issue, the National Betting Authority announced that license applications for operating online sportbooks would open on October 3, 2016. That process is still ongoing.

National Betting Authority Survey

Ioanna Fiakou said that conducting research on gambling was a part of the NBA’s mandate. She said that Cyprus’s gaming regulator needed to know the level of participation its citizens had in gambling, while it also needed to ascertain the percentage of gamblers who experience problem gambling.

The National Betting Authority‘s chair said, “Therefore, the authority has commissioned Insights Market Research (IMR) Ltd to conduct a quantitative survey by interviewing 3,000 individuals, in order to study and investigate the Cypriot public’s extent of participation in games of chance.”

“The survey’s goals focus on recording the extent of participation in gambling activities, identifying the extent of problematic participation among the public, studying gamblers’ social and demographic traits, the frequency with which they engage in gambling, and their budgeted and real spending in gambling.”

Cypriot Responsible Gaming Policies

Fiakou noted that the study could lead to new responsible gaming measures being instituted. Prevention of gambling addiction was a key concern, though the NBA’s chairwoman did not mention whether the impact of self-exclusion would be investigated, or whether the creation of a national problem gambling hotline/helpline is in the cards.

Research by the Insights Market Research group will focus on personal interviews with 3,000 randomly selected Cypriots. Those three-thousand people will be divided into 5 different demographics: ages 13-17, ages 18-34, ages 35-49, ages 50-64, and ages 65 and older.

Polling Separated by Age Groups

NBA Chairwoman Fiakou said, “The goal of separation by age group is that the authority will seek to take all necessary measures for each group and recommend the appropriate measures to the competent authorities.”

To best represent a cross-section of Cyprus’s people, the IMF plans to select 1208 people from Nicosia, 863 from Lamassol, 516 from Larnaca, 257 from Paphos, and 166 from Famagusta. Interviews begin on October 25 and run through the end of December.

IMF’s Comprehensive and Representative Study

The IMF survey is intended to be a “comprehensive and representative study” performed “at the national level”. Fiakou said that the study will provide statistics for the current state of gambling in Cyprus, but also act as a point of reference for future comparative analysis.

The researchers also want to study the range of knowledge that the public has about legal and illegal gambling. It also wants to study the profiles of “social, pathological, and borderline addicted gambler.

The National Betting Authority’s study is nothing out of the ordinary for gambling regulators. The only factor different than usual is scientific research tends to happen before new laws are passed, instead of 5 years after key decisions are made. Cyprus is a small island nation of 1.17 million people, so its national parliament can be more responsive to new information than most national governments — one might compare Cypriot government to the decisions made by a large modern city and not a nation-state.