Future Dim For Online Gaming In Albania

Published October 28, 2018 by Sol FH

Future Dim For Online Gaming In Albania

Albania's parliament closes the door to online gaming and passes a law to ban activity from January 1.

Albania has passed a brand new plaw that will essentially put an end to online, and, many other forms of brick and mortar gambling under its borders. On January 1, 2019, online gambling, as well as slot parlors and sports betting providers must cease and desist activity. The goal is to tackle gambling addiction and to crack down on match-fixing within their national sports leagues.

Legal Gambling Operations

For tourists coming to Albania, there will still be gambling operations available in designated areas including hotels in Tirana, and other locations just outside of major cities/towns. The government will continue offering the national lottery game, but online sales of tickets will be banned, including the sole legal gambling site in the country, Basterena, which just so happens to be partially owned by the Albanian Prime Ministers' brother. 

Prime Minister Eli Rama, a former basketball player, knows too well the dangers of having sports gambling in a non-regulated environment. "We are waging a frontal war with the evil entrenched deeply in our society over the years," he related.

He is doubling down on his country's ability to shut down online gambling sites by setting up a special task force that will scour the web and keep them offline. "They might keep changing sites, and we'll keep shutting them down," he continued.

No law can be passed without some kind of backfire, and sports betting operators have come out and said they will fight the ban and seek compensation. 

Representatives of sports betting companies have vowed to fight the ban and seek compensation.

The industry in Albania was not the biggest or the most booming, with €132m spent on gambling in 2017. The population of less than three million though was seeing major issues with addiction. Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe, gambling could have been its saving grace but instead, due to corruption, denial, and bad management, they will see gambling profits go elsewhere. 

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