Albania on the verge of gambling legislation

Jake Graves 1 year ago
Albania on the verge of gambling legislation

Albania has made a draft law which would legalise online betting public. This new legislation would see regulation afford only online gambling operators in possession of a licence the right to function legally.

Since January 1st, 2019, the Balkan nation has banned gambling in a bid to break problem gambling which has been cited as the cause of a plethora of social wellbeing and family issues in urban centres. The legislation at the time prohibits in-person and online sports betting at all slot halls aside from the ones adjacent to major tourist resorts.

However, the appetite for gambling in the country of 2.9 million residents is far stronger than the current legislation can provide for with figures before the prohibition reaching EUR 150 million annually on legal sports betting alone. The popularity was such that at one time the gambling industry was the second largest employer in Albania, conceding only to the energy sector.

The preliminary draft of this new bill would allow online gambling with registered operators but under some strong restrictions. The operators would be required to accept only digital payments, players would have to be registered with their personal data kept on record for a minimum of 3 years.

In addition to this, all monetary deposits would have to be processed through an authorised financial agent. This would include second level banks, Albanian post, and financial institutions possessing a licence from the bank of Albania, Western Union or Unionnet for instance.

A guarantee must also be provided by all operators for their game of chance winners, holding liquid equivalent EUR 1.5 million in a designated bank account. This amount should never fall below 5% of the aggregated deposits made by players in the previous financial year. Access to this bank account should be held by the Finance ministry. A secondary deposit must also be registered amounting to EUR 450,00 to cover obligations related to authorities.

Operators must also be a joint-stock company registered with the National Business Centre in Albania. All shareholders must not have any criminal convictions or even be subject to a judicial process.

This draft would see the creation of a specialised fund where the required 15% income tax from operators will be deposited into. The draft describes the use of the fund as;

“To support projects in the field of sports, culture, innovation and innovation technology, based on the request for financing projects presented by state institutions”.

0.4% of annual turnover will also be added to the fund in conjunction with the National lottery, that will deposit 5.4% of their turnover.

The draft is yet to be evaluated by the National Agency of Information and Society. Standards must be assessed in relation to identification and registration of players, software and hardware requirements, system certification, processes related to invoices and payment transactions, security, and compliance. If these standards are met the final draft will be enacted by a special government decision.

Subsequent to this action a commission will be set up at the Gambling Supervision Agency for the issuance of licences.

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