Albania Proposes Legalization of Online Gambling with Strict Regulations

April 12, 2023 | Online Gambling

Tirana, Albania (April 10, 2023) — As per reports from local news outlet Exit News, Albanian officials have introduced a proposal to legalize gambling in the country, including online gambling. Under the proposed legislation, operators will only be allowed to conduct business online once they have registered and obtained a license, and they must only accept electronic payments. Companies must also retain the personal data of all registered users for a minimum of three years.

Organizers of gambling activities will not be allowed to accept money directly from players, only through authorized financial agents, such as second-level banks, Albanian Post, and financial institutions licensed by the Bank of Albania, such as Western Union and Unionnet.

To operate, companies must hold a bank guarantee of €1.5 million in a special bank account, which should not be less than 5% of the total deposits made by players in the previous financial year, with access controlled by Albania’s Ministry of Finance.

Companies must transfer €450 000 to another account to cover obligations related to the state. Bookmakers must have the form of a joint-stock company with headquarters in Albania, and shareholders must not have a criminal record or be held liable for criminal offences.

Furthermore, the draft proposes the establishment of a special fund that will receive 15% of the corporate income tax paid by operators. These funds will be used to support state projects in sports, culture, and information technology.

Land-based casinos will also be required to transfer 15% of their corporate income tax to this fund, as well as 0.4% of their annual turnover. The National Lottery will also contribute 5.4% of its annual turnover.

The National Agency for Information Society will review the draft law, and the final version will be adopted by government decree after consultations with the agency.

Gambling was banned in Albania in January 2019, resulting in the closure of more than 1000 gaming venues across the country. A few operators were given special permits to continue operating, and it was previously announced that Albania would legalize gambling activities from January 1, 2023.

SOURCES: Exit News, GBC Time.

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