National Betting Authority in Cyprus Shows 12% Gain in Latest Results

Posted on: February 2, 2022, 08:41h. 

Last updated on: February 3, 2022, 09:35h.

The sports betting market in Cyprus continued to gain strength in 2021. The National Betting Authority (NBA) indicates that it saw a 12% year-on-year increase in the third quarter of last year.

Old Marina of Kyrenia, Cyprus
Kyrenia on the north coast of Cyprus. As it and other cities in the country continue to recover from COVID-19, online gaming is gaining strength. (Image: Getty Images)

The NBA, which provides regulatory oversight of sportsbooks in Cyprus, just released its most recent financial figures. These only cover the third quarter of 2021, as the entity has to wait for all those it manages to submit their data. The third quarter brought €192 million (US$216.84 million) in aggregate gaming activity to the country.

The betting sector’s recovery continues at a steady pace, while the overall picture of the sector seems to be entering a more mature phase and presents significant growth prospects,” said NBA President Ioanna Fiakkou.

Class A operators, those that offer retail betting services, contributed €58.7 million (US$66.3 million) of the total. Class B operators, which include online operations, were responsible for €133 million (US$150.21 million). Those in the former group lost 10% in a comparison of the two periods, while Class B operators added 26%.

The Mediterranean island nation now has 496 licensed operators, 2% less than it did a year earlier. That followed the issuance of six Class A and 12 Class B sports betting licenses.

The NBA did well in the third quarter. It earned €168 million (US$189.8 million) in profit, representing a 15% year-on-year improvement. Gross gaming revenue, however, fell 3%, closing at €24 million (US$27.12 million).

Nicosia Continues to Be the Center of Attention

The city of Nicosia continues to see most of the gambling action in Cyprus. It has 171 Class A properties, with Limassol and its 149 licensed operators following close behind. Larnaca, Paphos, and Famagusta round out the list, with 86, 52 and 38, respectively.

Eventually, Limassol could catch up. When Melco Resorts and Entertainment can finally open its City of Dreams Mediterranean integrated resort, the city will raise local competition.

Fiakkou added that there was an 81% decline in the number of license withdrawals in the third quarter last year. That drop helped provide better employment stability, with the workforce increasing by 4%. The total number of employees during the quarter was 1,301.

Illegal Betting Sites Still a Concern

For a country the size of Cyprus, with only 1.2 million inhabitants, the betting figures are impressive. However, they could have been better. The NBA has blocked a total of 15,322 sites that have been operating illegally in the country.

Those blocked sites were all operating without a Class B license or offering illegal betting options. The authority took down 16% more sites in the third quarter than it did a year earlier, shutting down 431 illegal operators.