Albania is a country located in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. Gambling is allowed on the territory of the state. Over 50 land-based casinos operate in Albania. Online gambling is also legal, but regulations to regulate it are in the works.
As a rule, in countries where the Muslim religion predominates, there is a strict ban on visiting gambling establishments by local residents and participating in gambling. Albania is an exception to this rule. In the republic, gambling is prohibited only for minors and persons included in special lists. Gambling is popular among the local population. According to various estimates, Albanians annually spend from EUR 500,000,000 to EUR 700,000,000 on gambling.
Gambling legislation of Albania
Albania currently has a Law No. 155/2015 on Gambling, which came into force in early 2016. It lists the following permitted varieties:
- bingo body;
- sports betting;
- race bets;
- national lottery;
- casino games;
- casino games at resort complexes;
- online gambling.
The country has a special body that monitors the implementation of laws in the field of gambling – the Gambling Monitoring Group (Autoriteti i Mbikëqyrjes së Lojërave të Fatit). The regulator has the following powers:
- Participation in the operator licensing procedure
- Supervision over the implementation of the current law
- Operator documentation control.
In order to reduce the spread of gambling addiction among the local population, the authorities introduced the function of voluntary restrictions on admission to gambling. Either the player himself or his relatives can write a statement.
Advertising of gambling establishments and websites in the media in Albania is prohibited. A hotel in which a gambling house can operate must have a category of at least 5 stars. It is also prohibited to place gambling establishments in the immediate vicinity of religious and educational institutions. The minimum distance to such objects should be at least 200 meters.
Each visitor is required to present an ID at the entrance. The minimum age for players is 21. Violation of the established provisions of the law entails liability ranging from fines of 500,000 ALL and ending with prison terms. Albania uses a centralized online monitoring system for the activities of gambling establishments. Any object of the gambling industry must be connected to it.
Gambling business licensing in Albania
There are now 10 licensed casino operators, 6 bookmakers, 4 bingo operators and a national lottery in the country. Licenses are issued by the Ministry of Finance (Ministria e Financave e Republikës së Shqipërisë) and the Gambling Monitoring Group. To obtain permission, the operator must submit an application with the appropriate package of documents attached to it.
Any type of license is valid for 10 years. It can be obtained by founders who have no debts to the state and no problems with the law. The operator must have a guarantee fund of at least 5,000,000 ALL. The tax on all categories of gambling is 15% of the profit of the establishment or site. The license fee is 1,000,000,000 ALL. For establishments operating in resort areas, this amount is reduced to 70,000,000 ALL.
Online gambling in Albania
At the moment, Albania does not have detailed regulations governing online casinos. There is no ban on such sites, however, providers can block certain resources. Formally, online casinos in Albania are subject to compulsory licensing, but there is still no clear algorithm for obtaining permission for this type of activity.
Popular online casinos and games
One of the most sought-after resources in the country is the Xhoilotto bookmaker website. It is the first licensed tote that entered the Albanian market in 2013.
The following online casinos are popular among Albanian players
- Play Million;
According to the rating, gamblers from Albania most often prefer the following slot machines:
- Ramses Treasure;
- Miss Liberty;
- Cleopatra Jewels;
- Fruits of Ra;
- Fruit Zen;
- Gonzo’s Quest.
There are no gambling software developers in Albania. There is also no information about the Albanian offices of foreign companies specializing in this area. Among Albanian players, games from companies such as IGT, Playtech and NetEnt are particularly popular.
Prospects for the development of the gambling business in Albania
Since the Albanian authorities are interested in attracting tourists, special attention is paid to the opening of gambling establishments at large hotels. For such casinos, more loyal working conditions are provided, for example, a reduced license fee.
While Albania’s land-based gambling business is experiencing the best period in its history, online gambling is still in its early stages. The laws of the country do not prohibit the activities of foreign operators. Players already have access to most of the gambling resources of major international operators. Albania compares favorably with other states with its reasonable and loyal laws in the field of gambling. The online casino bill under development is expected to be a continuation of this policy and will not cause new restrictions.