Cyprus Getting Ready to Roll Out Daytime Casino Advertising Ban

  • Ban will only affect Melco, the sole gambling operator in Cyprus
  • Radio and television gambling will not be aired between 6 am and 11 pm
  • Restrictions aim to protect children, under-21s, and gambling addicts
  • Italy, Japan, and the UK are also looking to implement similar curtailments
map of cyprus with gambling symbols laid on top
The Cyprus authorities are implementing a new advertising ban on Melco, the country’s sole casino operator.

Details of the ban

The Cyprus authorities are set to implement new curtailments on how the single casino operator in the nation can target locals via advertising. Local radio and television stations will be prohibited from airing any gambling-related ads between 6 am and 11 pm every day.

Ads that air outside of these hours will not be able to air directly before, after, or during any children’s programs or any programs that are potentially of interest to children.

The new restrictions were announced by the Cyprus National Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission.

Ads that go through digital channels will not be allowed to target people younger than 21 years old. No indoor or outdoor advertising can be on display within 300 meters of a school. This also applies to other locations for young people, such as movie theaters. A similar rule is in place in areas where there are treatment centers for gambling addicts. 

Finally, there is a new restriction on any gambling promotions on websites that could damage the reputation of Cyprus, the gaming authority, or any of the country’ agencies. 

Radio and television stations will be prohibited from airing any gambling-related ads between 6 am and 11 pm.

In case of any breaches of these rules, there will be suitable disciplinary action from the authorities. It will be completely up to the Commission to decide what the punishment will be.

Applicable to a single operator

The only casino license holder in the country is Melco Resorts and Entertainment. The new guidance dictates how this sole operator can promote and advertise its offerings in Cyprus. 

It has been deemed that promotional material refers to anything that relates to

the sale of special offer to increase visibility of the casino and gambling services.” 

These new rules will also be applicable to any agents or affiliates that Melco Resorts works with around the world. The authorities do not want to restrict the company from marketing its facilities, but they do want to encourage more responsible forms of advertising.

They also want to minimize the potential impact on underage people in Cyprus, as well as place emphasis on protecting gambling addicts and other potentially vulnerable groups. 

Melco Resorts and Entertainment currently operates four casino game facilities in Cyprus, three of which are satellite casinos. A single temporary casino in Limassol will be in operation until the development of a new casino resort, City of Dreams Mediterranean, reaches completion. Melco plans to have the facility open by the end of 2021. 

The existing facilities have been popular with locals since opening in 2018, with $236m gambled in the first six months. 80% of visitors to the casinos are from Cyprus. 

Other gambling ad bans

It is now becoming a global trend to limit the span of gambling advertising. Italy has a blanket ban in place, which encompasses gambling companies sponsoring sports teams and leagues. Japan has opened up its gambling sector in recent years by legalizing commercial and resort casinos. However, these facilities can only advertise at international airport terminals and cruise stop terminals.

There are also widespread calls for such restrictions in the United Kingdom. Many want an end to gambling operators sponsoring football clubs, as well as to ban gambling advertising on pitchside billboards and during sporting events.

Several other nations are looking to bring in similar advertising bans to protect young people and problem gamblers. This would be in line with restrictions on tobacco and alcohol advertising practices.