ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus seeks to cut betting tax to raise revenues NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus plans to cut its betting tax to 10 percent from the present 25 percent in a bid to clamp down on illegal practices and enhance tax revenues, officials said yesterday. In 2006, betting tax revenues declined to 4.27 million Cyprus pounds ($10.4 million) from 4.59 million Cyprus pounds in 2005, coming largely from bets on horses and soccer. Illegal betting is considered to be responsible for the declining revenues. «The proposed change provides that taxation will be paid not by the player but by the betting agent, based not on the amount of the bet but on the difference between (received betting) revenues and amounts paid (to winners),» Iphigenia Petrocosta from the Finance Ministry told parliament’s finance committee. Representatives of gaming companies said the proposed change was a step in the right direction. «We believe that this law will help legal betting,» Glafkos Harmantas, president of OPAP Cyprus, told Reuters but declined to speculate on the dimensions of illegal betting. Petrocosta said the proposed legislation is an interim solution as the European Commission is to decide on Europe-wide rules. Fuel sales continue to increase in Greece Sales of gasoline and diesel in Greece grew by 5.6 percent year-on-year in the January to August period, according to a survey by Stat Bank published yesterday. Gasoline sales expanded by 3.8 percent from 2.67 million tons in 2006 to 2.77 million tons this year, while the diesel market grew by an impressive 466.6 percent. Only the market of heating oil showed a 15.4 percent decline in that period, given its rising price and the mild winter of 2006-2007. The annual turnover of the market is estimated at 12 billion euros. OA flights to Balkans Olympic Airlines is expanding its flight schedule to the Balkan capitals of Bucharest, Sofia and Belgrade, raising the total number of services per week to 46 from 41 on the schedule until March 29. It also has added two weekly flights from Athens to Dubai, on Thursdays and Saturdays. Athens-Barcelona service Spanish low-cost airline clickair has started three weekly flights between Athens and Barcelona. Its flights will be every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, with fares starting at 40 euros. Bookings are made through travel agents or the carrier’s website, www.clickair.com, which is in seven languages. The company is partly owned by Spain’s national carrier, Iberia. Intrakat contract Eurokat, a subsidiary of listed construction company Intrakat, is the winning bidder for the construction of the central library of the Athens School of Fine Arts at Rendi, Piraeus, for a total budget of almost 5 million euros.