The Albanian Parliament has decided to lift the ban on sports betting in the country, with the aim of countering the spread of the illegal gambling market in the next five years.
This restriction was introduced in January 2019 as part of a ban on almost all gambling in residential areas in preparation for joining the European Union. Since then, only a few land-based casinos have received special permits to conduct gambling.
Apparently, the ban will be lifted only for online sports betting, and 10 companies with “previous experience” will receive licenses. Parliament unanimously supported the decision to lift the ban on sports betting. According to a press release, the decision received unanimous support from the 75 members in attendance at Thursday’s meeting.
Before the ban was introduced in 2018, sports betting was mainly carried out in cafes owned by three licensees. It was a popular pastime and at the time of the ban there were 4,214 registered sports betting cafes. It is believed that after the ban was introduced, many establishments continued to operate secretly.
Albanian sports federations have called for the ban to be lifted, citing the loss of potential sources of funding. Last April, the Albanian government began considering a bill that would end the ban on gambling in the country.
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