Albanian PM announces gambling crackdown

Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama

While many countries are relaxing the rules on gambling, Albania are adopting a strict approach towards the industry for casinos, betting shops and online sites.

On Tuesday, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama held a news conference that wasn’t good for the gambling industry. All gambling venues are to be forced out of residential areas and onto the outskirts of towns and cities and this will come into effect on December 31.

He also announced that broadcasters and other media outlets must end all gambling advertising within 24 hours. There would be serious consequences for them if they did not do so, he warned, and this would include having their operations “closed by force.”

In the UK there are moves towards reducing the number of gambling advertisements shown on television but it is already illegal in Albania. However, the PM admits this rule is being violated by virtually everyone.

No New Licenses

Albania’s Gambling Commission has been suspended. It has until December 31 to prepare a “new regime” which will license and control online gambling. The Prime Minister hasn’t given details on this new regime but he made it clear the country won’t be issuing new licenses for any gambling products, unlike Sweden who have received 55 in recent months. 

It’s not the first time Rama has threatened the gambling industry and in 2016 the Gambling Commission was granted powers to block unauthorized gambling domains. Tax is also a thorny issue, even though even though the number of casinos has fallen by half in the last five years, gambling tax has seen a €15m increase. Albania’s President had tried to reduce the tax rate, but this failed to get through Parliament.

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