Police at Cyprus’ British military bases shut down illegal gambling venues
olice at a British military base in Cyprus announced Tuesday they have successfully completed a four-year campaign against illegal gambling by closing nine casinos that operated within their jurisdiction.
The U.K. retained two military bases on Cyprus after the east Mediterranean island gained independence from British colonial rule in 1960.
Superintendent Dinos Petrou said the casinos generated hundreds of thousands of euros annually in illegal proceeds. Ten people received prison sentences, while 30 others were fined heavily, the Miami Herald reports.
Petrou said many of the casinos were built in areas adjacent or partly falling within Cyprus’ jurisdiction and that complicated matters. To circumvent that, base police carried out raids together with Cypriot law enforcement.
He also stated the police will remain vigilant against any resurgence of illegal gambling and that there would be no let up in prosecuting law-breakers even after Britain’s departure from the European Union. 30 of the 1,500 personal computers seized during the police operations have been donated to local schools.
Meanwhile, construction has begun on Cyprus’ first integrated casino resort that is being billed as the largest of its kind in Europe. The casino, near the southern coastal city of Limassol, is slated to open in 2021.
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