Albanian Government Considers Lifting the Ban on Gambling in the Country

The government in Albania is considering a bill to lift the ban on sports betting and gambling, which has been in force in the country for five years.

Gambling in Albania has been banned since 2018. The exception is state-sanctioned casinos. However, in late 2022, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced that the ban would be lifted as the measure failed to help reduce organized crime.

The bill, proposed by the Ministry of Finance and Economy, aims to create a regulated online gambling market, the services of which are provided by licensed companies that strictly comply with the anti-money laundering and customer service requirements.

The ministry indicated that online consumers must deposit cash through authorized financial institutions such as Western Union and Albanian Post rather than directly through operators and believes that this provision will reduce the threat of money laundering.

The bill would require licensed operators to register their businesses with the National Business Center, which would include checking whether management and shareholders had any criminal records.

Social Directives provides for the creation of a special fund to support projects in the field of sports, culture and social welfare, which will be financed by 15% corporate income tax paid by enterprises.

The Special Fund will allow public authorities to provide additional funding for specific projects funded by the funds collected from gambling operators.

Land-based casinos are required to contribute 0.4% of their annual turnover to the Fund and pay 15% corporate tax. National lotteries are required to contribute 5.4% of their annual turnover to the Fund.

Before the ban on gambling, there were more than 4,700 gambling establishments across the country, but under the new law, the number of licenses issued or open accounts is not limited.

If passed, the law will lay the foundation for a new gambling industry operating in a safe environment and provide a new source of revenue for the government.

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