The Cypriot Parliament is considering directing a percentage of sports betting tax revenue to fund football programmes.
Cyprus.- The island’s parliament has begun discussions on a possible amendment to its Sports Betting Law to fund football development and support.
Several MPs are in favour of channelling 0.3 per cent of tax revenue from all sports betting to programmes run by the Pancyprian Football Association (PASP) to “support, educate and medically treat footballers across all levels in Cyprus”.
PASP strongly supports the measure, which was first proposed three years ago. It says a new betting tax is needed to support around 3,500 registered professional and amateur football players in Cyprus.
It said there was a particularly clear need for funding for mental health programmes in the light of the suicide of Serbian player Miljan Mrdaković, who played in Cyprus for several years.
PASP President, Spyros Neofytides, said: “We salute this proposal put forth at the House of Representatives which has finally triggered a discussion after a period of three years. We are certain that the relevant officials will decide what’s best for the common good of Cypriot sports.”
PASP programmes include the Red Button initiative, which aims to detect match fixing, as well as educational programmes offering college scholarships and specialised training.
Cyprus passed its sports betting law in 2012, permitting both land-based and digital operators to provide fixed-odds markets under a ‘Class 2’ licence from the Cyprus’ National Betting Authority (NBA).
There are currently ten licensed sportsbooks, who pay 10 per cent on betting revenues and a 3 per cent civic tax aimed at funding problem gambling and health services.
In May, the National Audit Office published a report criticising the NBA and raising concerns of tax evasion in the betting industry in Cyprus.