No Casinos While I am President - Christofias
President Demetris Christofias has repeated his position that there will be no licensed casinos during his tenure as president. In February, Parliament passed 25 measures aimed at economic growth. The package was missing an expected casino regulation bill.
At the time, DIKO MP Nikolas Papadopoulos said that the Minister Of Finances Kikis Kazamias gave the House Financial Committee a written description of the measures and the creation of casinos was included in them.
“He assured us that there would be at least 100 million immediate profits from the creation of casinos, now he will have to explain to us where he will find this money.” said Papadopoulos.
DISY MP Nikos Tornaritis said he was surprised that the creation of casinos was excluded from the measures, since former Minister of Finance Kikis Kazamias supported it. Tornaritis said that “many millions are lost from Cypriots and tourists that visit the illegal casinos in the occupied north” and urged President Christofias to admit publicly that he and AKEL prefer to sent tourists to the occupied areas, instead of the free areas.
Answering, AKEL MP George Loukaides said that "the members of opposition are fanatical supporters of casinos” and that “the measures are more than enough to boost the economy.”
According to “In Business News” the economic benefits from the creation of casinos on the island would be enormous and immediate. From five licenses for casinos the government could add 500 million Euros to its revenues by the end of the year.
In the last year, there have been numerous comprehensive proposals for the creation of casinos by local and foreign investors, including one presented by the Famagusta Chamber of Commerce that attracted interest from Russia and Qatar.
In January, President Christofias, accompanied by Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias met with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson who presented them with his plans to create luxurious casinos in Cyprus, to the standards of his casinos in Las Vegas. After the meeting Kikis Kazamias talked about gigantic investments proposed by the American investor in the casino industry.
Cyprus is currently in recession and on the point of submitting a bailout request to the EU in order to refinance one of its top lenders, Laiki Bank, which lost 2.5 billion euros on its Greek debt exposure. Given that every street corner has some form of unlicensed casino, Christofias' critics say that the government could have increased its revenues and regulated the cowboy casinos that are now in each city.
Message from CyprusNewsReport.com. We can't do it without your help. Please support our independence so we can keep bringing you high-quality, free news from Cyprus and the region.
To make and read comments, become a full member of your news community, click here.