After banning sports betting and other forms of gambling, Albania may consider reinstating at least sports betting as early as next year, government officials reveal.
Prime Minister in Albania Considers Relaunch of Sports Betting
Last week, the Prime Minister’s office of Albania, Kryeministria, revealed that lawmakers are currently looking into the option to relaunch sports betting. If a decision is made to go ahead with the relaunch, the activity may restart as early as January 1, 2023, but the Prime Minister’s office warned that it will be subject to tough restrictions.
Prime Minister Edi Rama addressed the proposal to reinstate sports betting. He revealed that the plan is for sports betting tax revenue to provide invaluable funds for the country’s sports, culture and youth. Rama pointed out that the sports betting tax will raise significant funds for the sports sector, more than what the country invests currently. With that in mind, he explained that those activities will benefit from the “lion’s share” of the tax revenue from sports betting.
Although lawmakers will likely support the reintroduction of sports betting, there will be tough restrictions. According to Rama, the relaunch of the activity will come along with “extreme conditions” when it comes to regulation. At the same time, he acknowledged that the tough regulation will be safeguarded by local companies as well as international gaming giants that operate in different jurisdictions around the globe.
There are two prime reasons that pushed forward the reintroduction of sports betting in Albania. The first one is the tax revenue that sports betting will bring for the country’s sports, youth and culture. Earlier this year, a group that supports the relaunch of sports betting argued that the activity is regulated in many Western countries. The group said that those countries use the tax revenue collected from sports wagering to help fund different sports or community projects. Supporters to reinstate the activity also warned that Albania has lost approximately €17 million ($16.8 million) in tax revenue every year since the ban on sports betting. This brings us to the second reason why the country considers relaunching sports betting.
It was back in 2018 when Albania prohibited gambling activities including casino, online gambling and sports betting. Despite the ban, many customers continued gambling but used black market operators. This effectively resulted in losses in terms of tax revenue and at the same time left the sports betting market in the hands of criminal organizations. Considering those circumstances, it’s no surprise that Albania is after reinstating sports betting. Ultimately, besides raising tax revenue, if the activity is legal and regulated once again, this will boost player protection as well.
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