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Street lottery sellers up in the air

Lottery ticket sellers and agents are in the dark about their future after the Cyprus government decided to award the management of the State Lottery to a private investor.

Pancyprian Association of Agents chief Ermos Antoniades has spoken out about the uncertainty as some 700 families earn their livelihood selling state lottery tickets.

Antoniades added that his letters to former Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias and current Finance Minister Harris Georgiades concerning the matter have been left unanswered.

The ownership, however, will remain in the hands of the state despite the management changing hands.

The lottery sellers have expressed their determination to take the matter to court if the State Lottery is sold off adding that agents actively contribute to the State Lottery’s €13 million annual revenue.

There are 13 official agents which purchase the lottery tickets from the State Lottery and they in turn distribute them among ticket sellers, kiosks, bookmakers and coffee shops.

Antoniades has called for talks with the government adding that the only notification the association has had with the state was a few months ago when they were informed by the Privatisation Commissioner of the government’s intentions.

A government source has announced that once the necessary bills have been submitted to parliament for approval, talks will be held with all the interested parties.

The same source said that various scenarios were being studied in what was described as a ‘complex issue’. Furthermore, the future of the staff at the State Lottery, who are civil servants, is also under consideration but in any effect, their employment is guaranteed within the public sector.

The proposed bill allowing for the management of the State Lottery to pass to private hands is being reviewed by the Legal Services and once completed, it is expected to be approved by the cabinet before being sent to parliament for approval

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