The gambling regulations in Albania are very contradictory when it comes to specific activities. Many forms of gambling that are often considered to be lawful elsewhere are actually prohibited, while others are either monopolized or limited to certain regions.
Casino Games and Their Regulatory Status
Gambling in Albania is governed primarily by federal statute 155/2015, with amended addendum 75/2018 providing further clarity. There are a few exceptions to the general prohibition on gambling in Albania.
Let’s investigate them by looking at the legal standing of various forms of gaming in Albania.
Since 1992, Albania has allowed licensed operators of land-based casinos to provide their services to the public. Only casinos located in Tirana’s designated casino district or in five-star hotels or resort regions outside of the city proper are permitted to operate. Albania is home to three legal, brick-and-mortar casinos as of this writing. No part of the country will tolerate slot parlors.
Since the beginning of 2019, online casino play in Albania has become outlawed. Slot machines, table games, and “live” online casinos all fall under this category. The government actively blocks access to offshore internet casinos for its citizens, as it does not approve of any domestic online casino gaming activities. However, since there are no repercussions for users, many people still have little trouble getting onto these sites.
Since 2019, poker has been outlawed in Albania, with the exception of games played in officially sanctioned land-based casinos. Players have always preferred the allure of the many slots halls that once operated within the country, hence poker has never truly taken off there. Even though it’s against the law, some people do play poker for real money with friends and family. The prohibition is rarely enforced.
No online poker sites are authorized to run in Albania due to the country’s prohibition on the activity. Many Albanians ignore this restriction and sign up for accounts at offshore gambling sites, including popular casinos and poker rooms. The government has tried site blocking before with little success.
Bingo is one of the few surviving types of land-based gaming. Land-based bingo games have been available to operators with a valid license since 1992. However, in 2019, the activity of playing bingo in bingo halls was outlawed. TeleBingo, broadcast on Albania’s national television network, is the sole remaining option for Albanians interested in playing bingo.
On the flip side, internet bingo has been outlawed in Albania since 2019. No domestic bingo operators run online bingo sites, and gambling at offshore online bingo establishments is prohibited in this country. Despite the warnings, gamers can still readily gain access to online bingo games at a number of sites that are based outside of Albania.
Lottery is the most popular type of gambling in Albania, and it has been allowed there since 1991. However, Novomatic’s Lotaria Kombtare has a monopoly on the Albanian lottery. The operator offers multiple outlets where customers can buy lottery tickets, scratch cards, and keno games.
Playing the lottery online is permitted in Albania, although there is only one monopolized operator. However, Novomatic does not provide any real-money online lottery games at this time. Instead, many Albanians use one of the many offshore online lottery sites to play the more alluring games they offer, with little to no repercussions for those who are detected.
Legalized Sports Gambling in Albania
Sports betting, especially on football, was a popular past time in Albania before to 2019. However, early in 2019, legislative amendments put an end to sports betting across the country. In the present time, no bookies or betting businesses can be found in Albania.
It’s also against the law in Albania to wager on sports online. There is still widespread access to sports betting options because to the abundance of online sports betting sites that welcome members from Albania. Once again, the Albanian government does not punish those who use these sites to gamble on sports.
Maximum Gambling Age Set at 21
There are actually two separate minimum ages at which gambling can be done legally in Albania. To begin, the minimum age to visit a casino in this country is 21. Second, anyone above the age of 18 can participate in any other form of legal gambling in the country.
All licensed operators in Albania are subject to a 15% tax on their gross revenue from gaming. This is on top of annual turnover taxes of 3% and licensing fees.
Winnings from legally run casinos in Albania are subject to income taxation for the players. If your monthly income is less than 30,000 Albanian lek, you pay no income tax; if it’s between 30,000 and 150,000, you pay 13%; and if it’s more than 150,000, you pay 23%.
Legalized Gambling in Albania: A Brief History
Despite the fact that Islam, which outlaws gambling in all its manifestations, is the major religion in Albania, gaming was legalized again in 1991 due to increasing popularity during the communist regime. Prior to the implementation of Law 75/2018 on Gambling in Albania at the start of 2019, gambling was permitted throughout the country.
More than four thousand gambling establishments closed when the law went into effect, resulting in a decrease of about $51 million in tax revenue. To cushion this blow, President Edi Rama of Albania authorized the establishment of a casino district in the city of Tirana. Currently, this area is home to three separate casinos.
Legal Online Gambling in Albania: The Essentials
Here is all you need to know about the gambling legislation in Albania:
Gambling at land-based casinos requires a license and is only allowed in a certain area of Tirana, as well as a few five-star hotels and resorts outside of the city proper. Gambling at virtual casinos is against the law.
In Albania, poker gambling of any kind is against the law.
Bingo can be played legally on land, but playing it online is prohibited.
Novomatic’s Lotaria Kombtare has a monopoly on the offline lottery market. The same monopolistic organization also has the right to regulate internet lottery gambling, however there is no operational online lottery gambling service at this time.
In Albania, it is against the law to wager on sports either physically or virtually.