In an effort to attract additional tourism to Cyprus, Parliament approved a new bill on Thursday which will see a casino resort created in the region. The approval also includes the addition of satellite establishments, four of which can be created in Cyprus.

Twenty-nine MPs of DISY, DIKO and EDEK saw the bill passed while twenty-two lawmakers voted against the measure. Votes against included the former leader of the EDEK, House President Yiannakis Omirou. The law will see the creation of four satellite facilities as well as one resort for casino gaming, with three satellites only allowed to offer gaming machines while the last satellite can provide table games as well.

Amendments were added to the bill to restrict the facilities from giving credit to gamblers as well as not constructing the casinos on state land. Players of Cyprus will have to earn a permit after having their tax files checked before they will be able to gain entrance into the facility. Any illegal operators of casino gaming will have their profits seized by officials and could face a fine as well as jail time for their actions.

In the past, administration of Cyprus would not consider allowing casinos, despite the fact that citizens were traveling north to play casino games. Once the current officials in government took office, the CTO, a tourism organization, was asked to study casino gaming. A 2007 study was updated to decide how Cyprus could benefit from gaming.

President Nicos Anastasiades stated in a press release that the approval of the bill will help to turn the country into an investment center. Casinos have been in demand in Cyprus and Anastasiades believes the option will ‘enrich’ the tourism product, helping to upgrade the country’s standing in tourism while also creating conditions for employment in the region.