Albania wants all casinos and betting shops out of residential areas by December 31, and has pledged to clean up online gambling through regulation.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said gambling venues including slots parlours, casinos, and betting shops will by the end of this year be forced to relocate from residential areas to the outskirts of towns and cities.
He also sent a strong word to broadcasters and other media outlets warning them to remove all gambling adverts within the next 24 hours. Sources from local media cited Rama as saying, despite gambling advertisements being illegal “this law has been violated by all media without exception.”
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That aside, the government has suspended all activities of the Albanian Gambling Commission until December 31, effective Tuesday. This is to enable them to prepare for a “new regime” that will “license and control gambling activity remotely through the internet.”
Aside from indicating that Albania would not issue any new licences for gambling products, Rama did not provide details on what is to be expected with the new online regime.
This is not the first time the prime minister has issued such threats. In 2013, he promised the introduction of laws to prevent internationally licensed online gambling operators from accepting bets from Albanian gamblers.
This was extended further three years later when the Gambling Commission was sanctioned to block all unauthorised gambling domains. This means that many of the world’s biggest gambling companies appear as though they don’t exist when browsing from Albania.
He revealed that tax revenue on gambling has increased from €32 million to €47 million despite the number of casinos reducing by half since 2013.
Albania has 20 licensed casinos and a national lottery, 3,000 betting shops and 2,200 electronic gambling machines registered in the country.