As it was expected, the House of Representatives gave thumbs up for the first Cyprus casino license on March 10, 2016. The idea to build an integrated casino resort in the country had 28 votes in favor, 16 abstentions and one against. The decision paved the way for the government to start negotiations with the shortlisted companies that had applied for the license.

The Gaming Authority will be the main regulator and will conduct regular inspections of the operator who will be given the first Cyprus casino license. Other regulations are associated with the casino licensing procedures, disciplinary measures in cases of breaking the terms by the operator, licensing of employees, tax related procedures and advertising restrictions. The casino operator and its employees will also have to provide their fingerprints to the Gaming Authority.

The government said that once a final decision is made, it would reveal the names of the three shortlisted casino operators the next day. Earlier media reports revealed that the finalists are Las Vegas’ Hard Rock and Macau’s Melco International, Philippines based Bloomberry Resorts and Cambodia’s NagaCorp. The proposed sites where the first casino resort will be built are Limassol by Hard Rock, Larnaca by NagaCorp and Paphos by Bloomberry.

In July 2015 the Cyprus government formally approved to allow the operation of one casino resort along with four satellite casinos run by the same operator. Three of these satellite casinos will offer only slot machines, while the fourth facility will also feature table games. The government expects to give the license by September this year and to have the casino built and in operation within two years.