ECONOMICS > Northern Cyprus a new casino haven for wealthy

Ceyhun Kuburlu Hürriyet

With an overhaul of its hotels, Turkish Cyprus has become a much sought after casino destination drawing gamblers who frequent the casinos of Monaco. The sector brings in $600 million in annual revenue

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There are 25 casinos in Turkish Cyprus with a minimum of 55 tournaments with prizes ranging from $1.4- $4 million. Some 5,000 people are employed in the sector.

There are 25 casinos in Turkish Cyprus with a minimum of 55 tournaments with prizes ranging from $1.4- $4 million. Some 5,000 people are employed in the sector.

With the efforts to revamp and modernize its hotels, Turkish Cyprus has become a much sought-after new casino destination for gamblers. The casino sector alone has so far brought in $600 million in revenue for the Turkish Cypriot economy, according to Turkish Cyprus’ Casino Managers Union General Coordinator Ayhan Sarıçiçek, who was speaking to daily Hürriyet.

Turkish Cyprus’ casino sector has become particularly attractive to Arab tourists who want to participate in gambling tournaments, Sarıçiçek said. “There are 25 casinos in Turkish Cyprus. Each year these casinos hold 55-60 tournaments. At least 10 of these tournaments are broadcast on foreign TV stations, and prizes range from $1.5 to $4 million. These tournaments have a huge impact on our economy. Today, tourists from Canada to China come to Turkish Cyprus for these tournaments,” he said.

Sariçiçek explained that because of the economic crisis in Europe the casino sector there was unable to benefit from new investments, which are vital to keep fueling the sector. However, Turkish Cyprus has been continually investing in its casinos and slot machines.

“Gamblers love innovations. Sector representatives are therefore increasing their investments,” he said.

Golden Tulip Hotel Platinum Pasha Casino owner Vedat Erbaş told daily Hürriyet that they were trying to attract rich customers from Lebanon, Qatar and Kuwait.

“It’s not easy for these tourists to come to Turkish Cyprus. The biggest obstacle is transportation. However, with private jets we’ve been able to draw important customers to the casino,” said Erbaş. “Even our king suits aren’t enough to accommodate them, so we’ve increased the number of suites with more investments. This tourist profile loves luxury and we are doing all that we can.”

Erbaş noted that the largest portion of a casino’s expenditures come from the purchase of alcohol and cigarettes, which can account for as much as 70 percent of expenditures.

Every year hundreds and thousands of tourists visit Turkish Cyprus to gamble. There are 25 casinos in Turkish Cyprus with a minimum of 55 tournaments. Some 5,000 people are employed by the sector and the Turkish Cypriot government annually receives $2,000 in taxes per table at the casinos and $200 in taxes per machine. The average casino employee earns roughly $1,750 per month.

Las Vegas and Macau provide the most taxes to their governments for the casino sector.


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ilker avni

6/18/2012 6:52:30 PM

@Kemal Cyprus has enough of undesirables in the country we dont need any more,what we want is them undesirables to leave.a lifting of the unjust emabrgo and a two state solution,we want to govern ourselfs not from TURKEY! Cypriot Turks have had enough of Turkeys politics with Greeks useing Cyprus for they own agenda,s for the last forty years we have had to suffer at both hands first the greeks now the Turks from the mainland governing over us and calling us parasites.

ilker avni

6/18/2012 6:26:15 PM

I am sorry but i was born in Girne ,and as far as i am concerned The northern Cyprus has become a Mafia est,just like jamaica was for the pirates a hiding place,The north of Cyprus has become a mafia estate for gansters on the run either from Russia or from Britain.We dont want casino,s or gambling dens,we dont want eastern prostitues either.What we want is the unjust embargo lifted,we allso want our share of revenue from Britain that it pays the greeks for the British bases,or we want them out.

kemal H

6/18/2012 5:25:17 PM

@ Dorus I am always willing to retract my statement if I am proved incorrect . Therefore I fully retract my comment earlier and I apologize if I upset or hurt your feelings.


6/18/2012 3:36:14 PM

Kemal I am not angry at all. As you may have noticed I rarely comment on subjects about Cyprus because I admit that I don't know a lot about it. Besides I am not from Cyprus and I don't share any fanatism that may occur between GCs and TCs. I just commented because you were sure that Greeks would be unhappy because TCs invest on casino industry. Well I am not unhappy, i wish them good luck!

kemal H

6/18/2012 12:51:43 PM

@ Doris is livid. Mate the Greeks from Greek Cyprus and Greece are very big gamblers and contribute nicely to the TRNC economy very handsomely. Thank you very much on behalf of all the Turkish Cypriots for the Greek and Greek Cypriot support of the TRNC economy.

Chris Green

6/18/2012 12:33:19 PM

Sure thing Mark: The recognition of the KKTC or however it may be re-styled, by 49 Muslim States is likely to be one such event with other nations sure to follow. That re-styled CTR entity being ceded to the Republic of Turkey, another distinct possibility whilst the nightmare scenario (For Turkish Cypriots) of being unified under a Communist administration is as 'dead' as the Greek Cypriots dream of Enosis! Events such as these, one can speculate with some confidence.


6/18/2012 12:21:51 PM

who cares about the casinos really. I don't care even if you make the place Las Vegas LOL

Mark Mark

6/18/2012 11:53:26 AM

@Chris Green - can you explain 'the unfolding of events later this year?'

kemal H

6/18/2012 10:57:38 AM

This cant be a good read first thing Monday morning for our Greek poster's who are at this moment choking on their collective cornflakes. Read it and weep Greeks, read it and weep. There other surprises on the horizon, be patient all good things come to those who wait.

Chris Green

6/18/2012 10:45:26 AM

Nothing new here as the casino 'industry' has been growing steadily for years as, unfortunately has a closely related 'trade'! The latter point is hardly unique, however! Private jets certainly get around the direct flights problem but perhaps too this will be a thing of the past during the unfolding of events later this year!
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