(in accordance with the Immovable Property (Tenure, Registration and Valuation) Law, Cap. 224)

Pursuant to the powers vested in it by virtue of s.69(1) of the Immovable Property (Registration, Tenure and Valuation) Law, Cap. 224 (henceforth the “Law”), the Council of Ministers may, for the purposes of obtaining an up to date and uniform valuation of immovable property situated in any municipality or community, issue a decree ordering the conducting of a general valuation of such immovable property, carried out at such time periods which shall not, in any case, be further apart than three years from the date of the most recent general valuation, with the first three-year period commencing on January 1st 2018 (being the date of the last general valuation).

Going further, it is worth mentioning that the Council of Ministers reserves the right, to order, at its discretion, the conducting -within the said three-year period- of a general valuation in respect of any specific part of immovable property situated in any municipality or community, notwithstanding whether or not a general valuation was conducted in respect of the immovable property in question.

Importantly, for the purposes of calculating the general valuation of immovable property, the immovable property comprising the subject of calculation is deemed as being vacant.

For the purposes of the Law, a “general valuation” is defined as the valuation of immovable property irrespective of whether or not any valuation or re-valuation was conducted in relation to the said property and irrespective of the date on which such valuation or re-valuation was conducted.

For the sake of clarity however, the general valuation is not equivalent and does not correspond to the “market value” of the immovable property in question. In practice, a general valuation is “general” in that it is carried out en masse, and is calculated by taking into account, not the particular or specific characteristics of each individual immovable property, but rather groups or clusters of real estate with similar natural and legal characteristics.

The update of the general valuation at regular intervals results in the fair and uniform taxation of immovable property and is utilized by authorities such as municipalities, community councils, sewerage boards etc, for the calculation of the fees and levies imposed on real estate. In its press release following the new general valuation of 2021, the Department of Lands and Surveys labelled the general valuation as a “pillar of transparency in the real estate market” in that it offers an indication of the market value and return of immovable property and guidance to prospective sellers and prospective purchasers of real estate, as well as investors in such a significant sector of the economy. 

In accordance with the provisions of s.70 of the Law, where the Council of Ministers has ordered the conducting of a general valuation, the Director of the Department of Lands and Surveys (henceforth the “Director”) must publish in the Official Gazette of the Republic (and in such other newspaper as he shall deem necessary) and post a notice, informing the public that a general valuation shall be conducted, such notice containing details pertaining to the region in respect of which the notice is being given, as well as with regards to the date on which the general valuation shall commence, and shall summon all affected registered owners  to provide the valuer with such information, or written report including such information concerning the immovable property comprising the subject of the valuation as the valuer may require, and to present for inspection by the valuer any document in their possession or control as the valuer shall determine.

Following the completion of the general valuation the Director shall see to it that a notice in the Official Gazette of the Republic is published and/or transmitted by mass communications media, informing that the catalogues (in printed and/or electronic form) have been submitted to the office of the mayor or the relevant municipality or the office of the municipality of the relevant community as the case may be, and send a notice in writing to the owner informing him of the value of the general valuation of the immovable property in respect of which he is the registered owner.

Any person having an interest in any immovable property to which the notice relates may inspect the abovementioned catalogues at reasonable times and the mayor or mukhtar responsible for safekeeping these catalogues must allow, at reasonable times, any such person to receive any extract therefrom or copies of the same free of charge.

In accordance with the provisions of the Law, a valuation carried out by a valuer is rendered final unless any affected person submits before the Director, an objection against such valuation, within six months from the date of publication of the general valuation in the Official Gazette of the Republic (in which case the Director must examine such objection), or unless the Director applies to the Court asking for the valuation to be revised.  

In view of the above, following a relevant order to this end issued by the Council of Ministers, the new general valuation for the year 2021 has been completed by the Department of Lands and Surveys. Prior to the relatively recent amendment to the Law which dictates that general valuations are to be carried out every three years, previous general valuations were carried out much more sporadically, specifically in the years 1920, 1980, 2013 and 2018.

According to the records of the Department of Lands and Surveys, in the context of the new general valuation 1.093.495 plots of land and 566.53 units (including flats, maisonettes and shops) were valued. Interestingly, the aggregate value of the real estate valued is in excess of 186 billion euros, compared to approximately 182 billion euros, being the aggregate value of real estate on 01.01.2018 (being the date of the previous general valuation). As the Department of Lands and Surveys notes, there does not seem to be a great fluctuation between the values of the general valuation dated 01.01.2021 and the values of the general valuation dated 01.01.2018. Modest increases in value were observed in respect of houses and apartments; on the other hand, there was a decrease in value in respect of certain plots of land. More notable increases in value (albeit, as the Department of Lands and Surveys observes, inconsequential) were noted in apartments and houses in the district of Limassol.

Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in the betting industry in the Republic of Cyprus. According to the records of the National Betting Authority (NBA), between 2016 and 2019, the total revenue from betting activities has increased by 286%, contributing approximately around 3.5% to the country’s GDP.

Betting activities in the Republic of Cyprus are regulated under the Betting Law L. 37(Ι)/2019. The Law imposes on licensed bookmakers, i.e. holders of Class A license (land-based betting) and Class B license (online betting), certain restrictions when it comes to advertising their services.

From the outset, it is worth remembering that the advertising of betting-related services is subject to certain statutory restrictions. Pursuant to the provisions of s.89 of the Law, any person advertising betting in a manner that:

(a) suggests that betting promotes or is related to social acceptance, personal or financial success, or the resolution of any personal, financial or social issues, or

(b) includes the endorsement of well-known personalities in a way that suggests that betting is related to their success, or

(c) is capable of influencing in any way, underaged persons to participate in betting activities or

(d) promotes the taking place of betting using services provided by a person not a licensed Class A or Class B bookmaker or authorised representative, or

(e) exceeds the limits of honesty and decency

is guilty of an offence.

The NBA, in its capacity as the competent supervisory authority tasked with ensuring compliance of licensed bookmakers with the provisions of the Law, has recently proceeded to issue a new Advertising Code, which takes into account recent technological advancements and developments in the field of advertising and marketing. In addition, in recognition of the growing influence of social networking sites as powerful advertising forums, the revised Advertising Code aims to facilitate the protection of the public (placing particular emphasis on the protection of minors and underaged persons) against the risk of exposure to unethical and illegal advertising and marketing practices.

In this respect, the Advertising Code, which came into force on July 1, 2021, seeks to ensure that the advertising of betting activities shall be characterised by a sense of social responsibility prioritising the adequate protection of underaged persons and other sensitive social groups.

It is worth noting that the Advertising Code applies not only to licensed entities but also to any person who enters into a contract with, or is in any way associated or represents or offers services for or on behalf of the licensed entity in respect of services subject to licensing by the NBA. Essentially, the Advertising Code serves as a rulebook, outlining not only the marketing and advertising activities which are prohibited but also the procedure for the granting of an approval

Any proposed advertising or marketing activity must be submitted to the NBA for review prior to its circulation or publication. Depending on the outcome of the review, the NBA may approve publication, prohibit publication, require that amendments be made or make comments. Falling afoul of these requirements may result in the imposition of fines by the NBA.

For the purpose of facilitating compliance with the stipulations of the Advertising Code the NBA will proceed to issue a Practical Guide which shall cover all issues relating to the Advertising Code, including, among others, the procedure for the submission of advertising plans and marketing activities, the maximum timeframe for the review of advertising plans by the NBA as well as advertising activities which may be exempt from the obligation of prior submission to the NBA.

Advertising Activities

The Advertising Code defines an “advertisement” as the announcement or unilateral transmission of information with a view of promoting betting services. Advertising plans must necessarily include details and information expressly stating the licensed entity’s identity, that the services comprising the subject-matter of the advertisement are licensed by the NBA, that the participation of underaged persons in betting activities is prohibited, and must also include a reference to the Safer Gambling webpage of the NBA www.safergambling.gov.cy.  

Betting-related advertisements must be readily recognisable and distinct from any other content of any third person. In this respect, any person who publishes or incorporates in his content a betting-related advertisement shall not claim or imply that he is expressing an opinion as a consumer or expert; on the contrary he is under an obligation to clarify his relationship with the license holder and that the publication constitutes a paid advertisement.

The dissemination of advertising material by licensed entities to persons not registered as players is expressly prohibited, while several restrictions apply in respect to advertising material that can be sent to a registered player. Among others, licensed entities, may not proceed to send advertising material to registered players unless, it enables the player to elect not to receive such advertising material, it contains links relating to the protection of players and safer gambling.

The Advertising Code introduces a stricter regime in relation to the manner in which betting-related services are advertised through various mediums. More explicitly, there is a general prohibition on betting related advertisements which

(a) encourage the excessive and/or unrestrained betting activity,

(b) present the choice of abstinence from betting activities in a negative light,

(c) are untrue or misleading, especially with regards to information relating to winnings or the chances of the player to win,

(d) accept or encourage any person to violate the Law or to engage in antisocial behaviour,

(e) imply that skill plays a decisive role in predicting the outcome of future sporting events,

(f) suggest that the participation in betting activity may constitute a way out of financial worries, or solution instead of employment or means of financial security or means of financial investment,

(g) present participation in betting activity as priority or necessity in relation to other social or family relationships or obligations, such as friendly, professional, or academic,

(h) imply that participation in betting activity may offer a way out of professional, learning, or personal problems, such as loneliness or depression,

(i) present the participation in betting activity as a condition or means for successful social, friendly or professional relationships,

(j) present the participation in betting activity through a context of toughness or associates betting activity with endurance or dangerous or reckless behaviour,

(k) suggest that the participation in betting activity may enhance the player’s personal characteristics, such as his sense of self-respect, or his abilities, or suggests that betting constitutes a way to acquire control, superiority, power, recognition or admiration,

(l) exploit cultural convictions or traditions in respect of betting or chance,

(m) link the participation in betting activity with charm, sexual success, or enhancement of attractiveness,

(n) promote smoking and/or excessive consumption of alcoholic during participation in betting activity,

(o) present the participation in betting activity as acceptable or encourages the participation of betting activity in the work environment.

Unsurprisingly, in order to ensure the protection of children and underaged persons, the Advertising Code imposes certain prohibitions, placing particular emphasis on digital advertising and advertising through social networking sites. An underaged person is defined as any natural person below the age of eighteen, whilst “child” is defined as any natural person below the age of fifteen. In particular, digital advertisements which feature age-targeting must be adjusted in a way to preclude the targeting of underaged persons. Similarly, advertising through social networking sites must be made following the determination of appropriate age adjustments to prevent the targeting of underaged persons, and preventing, where reasonably possible, the projection of announcements, posts, notifications or any other content from the page of the licensed entity to the accounts of underaged persons.

Furthermore, the Advertising Code expressly prohibits the advertising of betting activities by any medium where such advertisements:

(a) encourage underaged persons and/or vulnerable persons to participate in betting activity;

(b) seeks to exploit the vulnerability, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or ignorance of underaged persons or other vulnerable persons;

(c) have particular appeal among underaged persons, especially where it reflects or relates to the culture of youngsters;

(d) represent persons behaving in an adolescent, childish or unorderly manner within licensed premises;

(e) are addressed to underaged persons via the choice of means of communication or the manner in which it is presented;

(f) include a person who is or appears to be below the age of twenty-five engaging in betting activity or playing a vital role in the advertisement.

Some restrictions and limitations also apply in respect of audio-visual and acoustic advertisements, in that such advertisements are prohibited unless a distinct reference is made to the existence of means of self-protection and safer gambling.

In so far as television advertisements are concerned, their duration may not exceed ninety seconds per television organization within any given clock hour. Advertisements through television and the radio are allowed to be broadcasted only within the time schedule determined by the competent authority and the Radio and Television Organizations Law L. 7(I)1998 as amended or repealed. The broadcasting of advertisements and program sponsorship is allowed during live sporting events, subject to compliance with the time schedule as aforesaid. In particular, the broadcasting of betting-related activities is permissible during live sporting events and for an interval of fifteen minutes prior to the beginning and after the ending of the sporting event. In any case, however, the broadcasting of betting-related advertisements immediately before and after, as well as during, kids shows, or shows addressed to children or shows appealing to children are prohibited.

Marketing Activities

For the purposes of the Advertising Code, “marketing activity” is defined as the offer of a player reward program or system provided by the licensed bookmaker, which entails or claims to entail some form of offer or benefit for the player. As is the case with advertising, all marketing activities are subject to the prior approval of the NBA.

The Advertising Code introduces a general requirement for marketing activities not to be misleading or unfair. This general requirement encompasses the obligation to ensure that marketing activities:

(a) are specific as to the extent of the player’s commitment in order to avail themselves of an offer or opportunity;

(b) do not omit or withhold material information or present these in an unclear, vague or ambiguous manner;

(c) provide all material information with sufficient emphasis, including the conditions relating to participation and deposit that the player must fulfil in order to benefit, and any other restriction or limitation.

(d) provide examples which state the conditions, requirements and restrictions using plain and intelligible language; and

(e) include terms and conditions relating to all material information relating to the marketing scheme and, provided that the player shall submit a confirmation that he has been informed with regards to such terms and conditions, remain available and accessible to the player.

A licensed bookmaker is obligated to ensure that players shall be informed in relation to their progress in the fulfilment of the conditions or requirements in order to benefit from an offer or opportunity immediately and at any time, whilst in case a player is disqualified from the scheme on the basis of the terms and conditions of the marketing activity he must be informed immediately with regards to any such disqualification.

With the exception of marketing activities relating to registration or deposits rewards, the advertisement of marketing activities requiring a player to place a bet within a specified timeframe (a) a minimum amount or (b) a number of bets is prohibited, except where such marketing activities take place in the licenced bookmakers premises or on the licensed bookmakers webpage.

It is a prerequisite that players provide a confirmation of acceptance of the terms and conditions of the marketing offer or opportunity before their induction into any marketing activity. In the event that a player agrees to participate in a marketing activity, the licensed bookmaker may only amend the terms and conditions of such marketing activity, provided that the amended terms are more favourable for the player, the licensed bookmaker informs the player with specificity and using examples all material amendments to the player and procures a new confirmation by the player on the revised terms and conditions.

The NBA is expected to issue a practical guide with regards to the Advertising Code, and also plans to organise seminars addressed to the various stakeholders for the purpose of analysing the provisions of the Advertising Code.

We are glad to announce that A. KARITZIS & ASSOCIATES LLC contributes to the 6th edition of the exclusive Cyprus Chapter to The Gambling Law Review, published in the United Kingdom by Law Business Research Ltd. 

The Gambling Law Review covers the main perspectives of gambling in various jurisdictions; in particular, the Cyprus Chapter seeks to address the main areas underpinning the legislative framework governing gambling activities (betting, gaming and lotteries) in the Republic of Cyprus and offer readers insight, information and guidance in relation to a rapidly evolving and growing industry.

The information provided in this publication is general and may not apply in a specific situation, nor does it necessarily represent the views of authors’ firms or their clients. Thus, such information should not be used as a substitute for professional consultation; legal advice should always be sought before taking any legal action based on the information provided. The publishers accept no responsibility for any acts or omissions contained herein. Although the information provided is accurate as at March 2021, be advised that this is a developing area.

For further details or clarifications of the subject guide or/and any assistance, you may require please do not hesitate to contact our Corporate/Commercial Department at: mail@karitzis.com.

This article seeks to provide an outline of the nature of the position as well as the scope of the duties of a Data Protection Officer under the General Data Protection Regulation (EU2016/679) (“GDPR”).

The position of the Data Protection Officer introduced by virtue of Article 37 GDPR constitutes one of the most innovative and interesting aspects of EU data protection legislation. It is submitted from the outset that, depending on the circumstances, the appointment of a Data Protection Officer may be mandatory, or not required at all (although it is worth noting that the designation of a Data Protection Officer is encouraged by competent supervisory authorities as good practice). In light of the practical difficulties of formulating a one-size-fits-all approach with regards to whether or not the appointment of a Data Protection Officer is necessary, the GDPR provides some guidelines which seek to help data controllers and data processors determine whether the processing activities in which their organization is engaged warrant the designation of a Data Protection Officer.

In so far as private entities are concerned, the appointment of a Data Protection Officer is understood to be mandatory where the core activities of the entity in question constitute processing activities requiring the frequent and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale. It therefore follows that the activities of the organization, the frequency of processing and the volume of data processed, all constitute material factors. The practical application of these guidelines to each particular scenario is, nevertheless, a matter which requires the kind of meticulous analysis which largely falls outside the ambit of this article, and as such will not be considered further.

Essentially, the role of the Data Protection Officer consists of monitoring and facilitating compliance of the entity which he / she serves with the provisions of the GDPR and applicable data protection legislation. More specifically, as part of his responsibilities, the Data Protection Officer may collect information with a view of determining the processing activities, analyse and examine the compliance of processing activities with the GDPR and inform the data controller or data processor and provide advice and issue suggestions. What is more, whilst the GDPR imposes on data controllers and data processors the obligation to keep a record of processing activities, this record-keeping obligation may be delegated to the Data Protection Officer. In this respect the record of processing activities shall enable the Data Protection Officer to perform certain aspects of his responsibilities such as the monitoring of compliance and the provision of advice to the data controller or data processor.

Whilst the level of expertise and professional qualifications which the Data Protection Officer should possess, are not expressly stipulated in the GDPR, pursuant to the guidelines issued by Working Party 29, the Data Protection Officer is generally expected to possess, among others, the following professional qualifications, skills and expertise:

  • Expertise from a legal and practical standpoint in respect of personal data protection in both a national and EU level, as well as excellent knowledge of the GDPR
  • Knowledge of processing activities carried out by the data controller
  • Knowledge of the field of information technology and data security
  • Knowledge of the fields of business activity of the data controller
  • Ability to develop a data protection culture within the data controller

It is worth noting that the GDPR endeavours to safeguard that the Data Protection Officer is autonomous and independent, in that he is answerable only to the highest management level within the organization and must be provided with access and information concerning departments, personnel, and processing activities carried out by the entity. At the same time, it should be stressed that the designation of a Data Protection Officer does not, in any way absolve or release the data controller or data processor from the obligation of ensuring compliance with the provisions of the GDPR; in fact, whilst the position of Data Protection Officer entails a number of important responsibilities, the Data Protection Officer cannot be held personally liable in respect of any breach of the data processing obligations imposed upon data controllers and data processors.

In order to ensure that the Data Protection Officer shall be in a position to carry out his duties adequately and effectively, the GDPR requires data controllers and data processors to offer every reasonable assistance to this end. Crucially, the Data Protection Officer is expected to be promptly and duly involved in any matter relating to data processing. This necessarily entails, among others, the participation of the Data Protection Officer in meetings of senior officials of the organization’s management (to the extent and in so far as the agenda of the meeting includes any proposed course of action which is capable of influencing or affecting personal data protection), as well as consultation with the Data Protection Officer in respect of cases relating to data breaches or other similar incidents.

Going further, to ensure the autonomy and independence of the Data Protection Officer, the designating entity should not seek to influence or dictate the manner in which the duties of the Data Protection Officer are to be exercised. In particular, having due regard to the guidelines issued by Working Party 29, the Data Protection Officer must not, among others, receive instructions as to the desired outcome of a case, instructions on how to approach an investigation of a complaint, instructions on whether or not the competent supervisory authority should be consulted, or indeed instructions with regards to the manner in which legislative provisions relating to data protection laws are to be interpreted.  In addition, in order to ensure that the Data Protection Officer shall be in a position to exercise his duties in an impartial and independent manner the following safeguards must be in place:

  • The designating entity should not dismiss or otherwise penalise the Data Protection Officer for reasons relating to the exercise of the Data Protection Officer’s duties and responsibilities under the GDPR
  • No conflict of interests should exist between the duties of the Data Protection Officer under the GDPR and any other duties or obligations arising by virtue of any other position held by the Data Protection Officer in the organization. This means that the Data Protection Officer must not hold any position that may determine the purpose and means of processing of personal data. Because each organization has a different organizational structure, this particular issue should be examined on a case-by-case basis. Usually, a conflict of interests is deemed to arise where the appointed Data Protection Officer also holds some other senior managerial or other key position within the organization which -by its very nature- determines or contributes in the determination of the purposes and means of processing of personal data (i.e. executive director, general manager, chief executive officer, chief financial officer, marketing officer, human resources manager, IT manager).

Moreover, to enable the Data Protection Officer to carry out his responsibilities effectively, the organization is expected to offer adequate support and sufficient resources. Such support is not only limited to financial assistance but may also take the form of continuous professional training aiming to enhance and improve the skills and qualifications of the Data Protection Officer, notifying the organization’s employees and members of staff of the designation of a Data Protection Officer and informing them of his duties and responsibilities, ensuring that the Data Protection Officer will have access to other departments within the organization such as the human resources department, legal department or information technology department for the purpose of ensuring the continuous technical support of the Data Protection Officer, and providing the Data Protection Officer with sufficient time in order to properly and effectively carry out his responsibilities.

Finally, yet another important function of the Data Protection Officer is that he also serves as the point of contact between the entity and the competent supervisory authority (in this case, the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection). In this respect, the contact details of the person appointed as a Data Protection Officer must be communicated to the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection.

We are glad to announce that A. Karitzis & Associates LLC, contributes the 7th Edition of the exclusive chapter on Cyprus to the ICLG to Corporate Immigration 2020, published in association with Kingsley Napley, and produced in partnership with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). 

The ICLG to: Corporate Immigration covers common issues in corporate immigration laws and regulations – including compliance, investment work permits and dependants in Cyprus.

The content included in the below pdf is for general information purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisors. For further details or clarifications of the subject guide or/and any assistance, you may require please do not hesitate to contact our Corporate/Commercial and Immigration Department at: mail@karitzis.com.

We are glad to announce that A. KARITZIS & ASSOCIATES LLC contributes to the 4th edition of the exclusive Cyprus Chapter to The Gambling Law Review, published in the United Kingdom by Law Business Research Ltd. 

The Gambling Law Review covers the main perspectives of gambling in various jurisdictions; in particular, the Cyprus Chapter seeks to address the main areas underpinning the legislative framework governing gambling activities (betting, gaming and lotteries) in the Republic of Cyprus and offer readers insight, information and guidance in relation to a rapidly evolving and growing industry.

The information provided in this publication is general and may not apply in a specific situation, nor does it necessarily represent the views of authors’ firms or their clients. Thus, such information should not be used as a substitute for professional consultation; legal advice should always be sought before taking any legal action based on the information provided. The publishers accept no responsibility for any acts or omissions contained herein. Although the information provided is accurate as at May 2019, be advised that this is a developing area.

For further details or clarifications of the subject guide or/and any assistance, you may require please do not hesitate to contact our Corporate/Commercial Department at: mail@karitzis.com