At a time when American states are passing laws allowing sports betting to be legalised, Albania appears to have taken a big step back with the current parliament passing a law on Thursday that sees all sports betting banned.
The law also takes into account any other forms of gambling from the start of 2019 in a move that seems to see those who cannot control their habit along with the notorious match fixers in sports win out.
This legislation was passed with 75 votes from the members of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s Socialist Party and will push through the closure of slot machine parlours, all betting shops and any other forms of sports betting, including via online sportsbooks.
One again, despite the statistics on “problem gambling” not separating out those who bet carefully on football or horse racing with a degree of knowledge from those who bet on games they cannot control, we see that the potential addicts can still get their fix as the law will allow gambling in casinos at hotels.
On top of this, Albania’s televised bingo game and their national lottery are also unaffected meaning those who bet money on an outcome they have no control over can still play and this on games Albania has considered a state monopoly on, as reported by the Tirana Times.
This is definitely a backward step from a country whose sports betting industry has grown and grown in recent years, reaching a level whereby annual turnover is now expected to be around €700 million (£621m).
Prime Minister Rama however thinks that these figures in fact show that there is a detrimental effect on the integrity of sport and an impact on low-income families.
I have to ask – why not control the very people who look to bring Albanian sport into disrepute and why not be concerned about those same low-income families betting on the lottery and the bingo?
Having been immersed in the worlds of sports betting and writing for the past 20 years, Gary Christie has vast experience on the subjects. He has produced content for various leading websites, including both TVG and Mr Green Casino. Contact Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org.