The Albanian government approved a series of changes to
gambling laws on October 25 2018, which are effective from
January 1 2019. This will have wide-reaching effects
considering the gambling industry is the second largest
employer in Albania after the energy sector.
Sports betting and slot machines will be closed from
December 31 2018, and will only be available online. The only
gambling activities that will be allowed to continue operations
will be gambling at casino resorts and large hotels in
residential areas, playing bingo games on television, and the
Furthermore, details regarding the suspension of the
Albanian Gambling Supervisory Authority (GSA) has been
published, due to its restructuring.
Most importantly, the new gambling law will affect income
tax revenues as well as employment. The government considers
these effects irrelevant when compared to the negative social
effect of gambling and the high risks associated with money
The gambling industry's turnover in 2018 was around
€130 million ($147.3 million), an amount which should be
taken with a grain of salt as the GSA estimates that the
declared income from this sector is less than a half, with the
other part remaining unofficial. The effect in state income
would be a decrease in the revenue from tax on gambling of
around €40 million.
Sports betting has become an undisputable social phenomenon
in recent years. It is estimated that Albania – a
country of 2.8 million people – is currently home to
more than 4,000 sports betting locations all over the republic.
The spread of the gambling industry has caused concern about
its impact on low-income families.