This section provides detailed information for junket operators wishing to apply for a licence. It covers Licence applicants, who should apply for a licence, what we expect from licence applicants, how applications are assessed, how to apply, and our expectations of licensees.
To be eligible to apply for a junket operator licence you must either have a proposed and unexecuted junket services agreement or an executed junket services agreement with the ICR operator (this agreement is subject to obtaining a junket operator licence from the Commission) with the Republic of Cyprus Integrated Casino Resort (ICR) operator. Applications received that do not meet these criteria will not be accepted and you could lose your application fees.
No individual should perform any of the functions of a junket operator unless they hold a junket operator licence issued by the Commission.
Who should apply for a licence?
You must apply for a junket operator licence if you intend to provide junket operator services for the ICR.
What the Commission expects from licence applicants
Individuals applying for a junket operator licence should:
- be able to demonstrate that they can meet the Commission’s suitability assessment
- ensure that the activities they plan to carry out will be conducted in a manner which minimises the risks to the licensing objectives
- work with the Commission in an open and cooperative way, and
- disclose to the Commission anything which the Commission would reasonably expect to know.
How the application is assessed
The Commission needs to be satisfied that licensees are suitable to hold a licence and undertake the activities for which they are licensed. In assessing suitability, the Commission will look at the suitability of the applicant and those individuals relevant to the application. Relevant individuals include: officers of the company; senior management; shareholders; associates, and any other individual connected with the applicant or who may influence or benefit from the activities or services provided under the licence.
The Commission will take a number of factors into consideration whilst processing your application and determining suitability including:
- identity and ownership – The identity of the applicant and any individual(s) relevant to the application will be established and verified using appropriate official documentation. The ownership of a corporate applicant will be investigated, and all major shareholders identified. The Commission will check company and director records to.
- integrity – The reputation, honesty and trustworthiness of the applicant and/or individual(s) relevant to the applicant and/or associated companies will be assessed using a variety of means. The Commission will consider whether the information it collects raises any concerns about integrity. This includes an assessment of an applicant’s criminal record, and any past involvement in civil or regulatory investigations or proceedings. We will also consider the manner in which the applicant has conducted their business with specific regard to the provision of gambling services in other jurisdictions. In addition, the Commission will also consider the evidence and findings of any complaints about the applicant and/or investigations by other regulators, and we will investigate any history of business failure.
- finances – The financial condition, stability and strength of the applicant as well as their financial resources and the integrity of any source of funds will be considered to ensure that the licensing objectives will not be put at risk. The past and present financial circumstances of the applicant and any person(s) relevant to the application will be investigated to ensure that sufficient resources are in place to carry out the licensed activities. Additionally, the Commission will ask for accounts from existing businesses and associated companies. Our focus is on assessing the source of funding and the resources likely to be available to enable a licensee to conduct the licensed activities.
- competence – Whether the applicant has the technical capability to provide junket operator services will be taken into consideration. This includes the applicant’s track record of compliance with the legal and regulatory requirements of any jurisdiction where it may hold a junket operator licence/permit or approval. The Commission may also take up references and may review the CVs of relevant persons to assess their work experience and the training they have received which demonstrates their competence to carry out the role required of them.
- criminality – The criminal record of the applicant and/or individual(s) relevant to the application will be considered. Any prior offences committed by the applicant and any individual(s) relevant to the application will be taken into account when assessing an application for a junket operator licence. Any previous offences do not mean that the application will automatically be refused. Each case will be considered on its individual merits, and consideration will be given to the seriousness, relevance and date of the conviction. In evaluating the seriousness and relevance of an offence, the Commission’s assessment will focus on whether the conviction has a potential bearing on suitability to hold a licence and will have regard to safeguarding the licensing objectives and the public interest.
In assessing suitability, the Commission will use both the information and supporting documentation provided by the applicant as part of the application and information available from other sources (for example, open source, government departments, overseas regulators).
The Commission will carry out the investigations and enquiries it considers necessary to enable it to consider the application properly and in particular, the Commission may:
- carry out an investigation of the applicant in relation to the person’s suitability to be a junket operator
- carry out an investigation of any person who may be an associate or who has a business association with the applicant or any other person who is connected with the ownership, administration or management of the operations or the business of the applicant
- require the applicant or any person, referred to in (b), to provide such information and produce such records relevant to the investigation of the application
- require the applicant or any person, referred to in (b) to consent to having his photograph, and with the collaboration of the police, fingerprints and palm prints taken, and
- send a copy of the application and any such photograph, fingerprints and palm prints taken to the police, who will investigate and report to the Commission on such matters as the Commission requests.
For every application, the Commission may:
- grant a licence
- grant a licence subject to conditions required by the Commission
- refuse a licence where there are reasons to do so.
How to apply
If you wish to apply for a Junket Operator licence you must:
- familiarise yourself with our guidance notes.
- complete the Junket Operator Licence Application Form
- complete, if applicable, Annex A - Personal Declaration
- ensure that your application and investigation fees (as required) have been paid
- deliver the completed application form and the supporting documentation to the Commission (either by post or by hand).
Junket operators should familiarise themselves with the Casino Operations and Control Regulations of 2016, Part VII, section 20.
Moreover, licensees shall:
- ensure compliance with the Law and Regulations with respect to junket operator licences, including but not limited to continuing suitability and performing their duties under Section 43 of the Law and Regulation 20.
- upon request from the Commission, provide information, documentation, records and assurance, which constitutes evidence:
- of their continuing suitability to act as junket operators
- of their good reputation for honesty and integrity and that they are not disqualified from maintaining a licence for any reasons relating to suitability, esteem, character, honesty or integrity
- of their financial soundness and stability and that they have sufficient financial resources and have the ability to obtain further financial resources to ensure financial viability
- that the ownership, trust or corporate structure approved by the Commission in their junket operator licence application has not changed without notification and approval of the Commission
- that they have and maintain the appropriate level of experience and management to operate a junket operator business;
- that the reputation, suitability and record of compliance of the owners, directors, and executives and associates of the junket operators remains suitable
- that their anti-money laundering programme is approved and remains satisfactory to the Commission and
- of any other matter relating to their activities.
- enter into and maintain a junket services agreement with the ICR operator in the form required in Regulation 20(20). Such junket services agreement must be approved by the Commission prior to the junket operator participating in a junket at the ICR
- not make any amendments to the junket services agreement without prior notification to and approval of the proposed changes by the Commission
- notify the Commission immediately should the operator terminate the junket services agreement with them
- appear before the Commission to answer questions relating to their licence or activities, when requested to do so.
- keep a record of every junket organised, promoted or conducted by it for the ICR, in the form required by Regulations 20(13) and 20(14) and the Commission
- not share with any person, who is not a licensed junket operator, or junket representative, all or part of the commission or other payment received from the ICR operator for the organisation, promotion or conduct of a junket for the ICR
- extend credit to junket customers only to the extent that their credit procedures have been submitted to the Commission and approved by the Commission
- notify the Commission immediately should there be any material changes in their financial condition, stability, and source of financial resources as well as any change of ownership and or voting rights greater than 5% and any change which results in a person becoming an associate of the licensee
- notify the Commission immediately if they have been declared insolvent by a court in the Republic of Cyprus or another EU member state or a third country or in case a winding up petition has been filed against them.
Furthermore, junket operators are not permitted (unless their licence issued by the Commission specifically permits them to do so) to:
- receive fees or other payments directly or indirectly from a junket customer
- handle junket customers money directly or indirectly
- operate as a host in rooms specifically designed for very important persons (VIPs) at the ICR and which involve gaming for junket customers. The permitted extent of host services will be defined and communicated by the Commission to the junket operators
- operate casino games or carry out gaming activities at the ICR.
What the Commission expects from licensees:
The Commission expects licensees to conduct their activities in a way that does not put the licensing objectives at risk. It expects those holding a junket operator licence to:
- conduct their business with integrity
- act with due care, skill and diligence
- maintain adequate financial resources
- work with the Commission in an open and co-operative way
- disclose to the Commission at any time anything which we would reasonably expect to know
- provide to the Commission such information or records as the Commission considers necessary from time to time, and
- ensure that the junket operator and the services provided are in compliance with the Law, the Regulations and conditions imposed by the Commission in the junket operator licence, including but not limited to compliance with Commission Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements.