Friday, October 19, 2018

Albanian Parliament Considers State-Run Sports Betting Monopoly, Online Gambling Ban

Casino News Daily
Albanian Parliament Considers State-Run Sports Betting Monopoly, Online Gambling Ban

State monopoly could assume control over sports betting operations and online gambling could be banned under new measures discussed by Albanian lawmakers

The government of Albania is considering the establishment of a state-run monopoly on the provision of sports betting services as part of a larger effort to curb the proliferation of gambling in one of Europe’s poorest countries, local news outlet the Tirana Times reports.

News about the latest measure planned by Albanian lawmakers arrive shortly after it was announced that casinos and betting shops will be forced out of residential areas and will have to relocate to city outskirts. Starting January 2019, gambling facilities will only be allowed in tourist areas, 5-star hotels, and non-residential areas under a new bill that recently received blessing by Prime Minister Edi Rama.

According to a fresh report accompanying the newly introduced legal changes on the provision of gambling, lawmakers are “considering the possibility of treating sports betting and betting on races as a state monopoly and allowing their operation by specially set up state structures.”

Gambling services in Albania are currently run exclusively by private entities. According to official data, the nation’s gambling industry generated annual income of over €130 million last year and employed around 7,000 people. However, Albania has also been found to be nurturing a booming black market that annually generates much more than its regulated counterpart.

Online Gambling Crackdown

It has also emerged that Prime Minister Rama’s administration has been preparing a new online gambling regime that would aim to prevent all international gambling websites from targeting Albanian gamblers.

It is yet to be seen what the planned crackdown on Internet gambling will look like, but according to local news outlets, the Prime Minster has provided somewhat conflicting statements on the matter over the past several weeks.

Local media outlet reports that Prime Minsiter Rama said in the Parliament earlier today that from January 1 onwards the local gambling industry will see:

“… the shutdown of electronic casinos and sports gambling sites, from soccer matches to races of any type of quadrupeds out there in the world fauna, and [the shutdown] of online gambling.”

However, he added that the “online” part could be subject to further discussion at a later stage and that a well-studied conclusion will be reached, based on the gambling landscape in other countries.

Statements from earlier this month suggested that there will be a full ban on online gambling. The Prime Minister said in a recent tweet that “gambling and this online monopoly will both die on New Year’s Eve” as part of the country’s crackdown.

The new set of rules and measures discussed by Albanian lawmakers also includes restrictions on gambling advertising. Prime Minister Rama ordered that earlier this month all broadcasters and other media outlets remove gambling advertisements or face punitive actions.

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