The government of Albania will seek to relaunch the Balkan nation’s sports betting marketplace by 1 January 2023.
Sports betting was prohibited in 2018 alongside casino and online gambling, a decision sanctioned by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama as a youth protection and anti-corruption measure.
This summer, Balkan news sources reported that Rama was considering suspending gambling’s prohibition to generate subsidies for Albania’s imminent winter fuel and energy crisis.
Meanwhile, a decree signed by Albanian sports bodies petitioned the Kuvendi (Parliament) to reinstate sports betting “under a well-regulated and supervised regime.”
Urging sports betting to be taken out of prohibition, the decree’s supporters lobbied that a legalised market could generate an “estimated €17 million in tax revenues each year”.
On Friday, a notice by Kryeministria – the Prime Minister’s office – outlined Rama’s support to reinstate sports betting “under strict regulatory conditions”.
The PM’s statement detailed that market rules needed to be “guaranteed by large international companies, which operate worldwide and in the European Union area.”
Backing the decree’s mandate, Rama stated that the “lion’s share of yearly funds raised” should be allocated towards funding Albanian sports and youth culture projects.
As stands, the Albanian government will work on a regulatory framework to relaunch sports betting by 1 January 2023, which will legislate for bookmaker licensing, taxation, technical provisions and regulatory supervision.
2018’s prohibition saw the Albanian government close 4,300 bookmakers, forcing sports betting underground to become a lucrative practice for criminal gangs.
Tonin Vocaj, Albania’s State Police Commissioner, has backed the decision to relaunch the market, and has further advised the government to ensure the “formalisation of online sports betting also because this activity is legal in other countries.”