Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama has given the nod for a complete U-turn on casino gaming by paving the way for the return of more than one casino in the capital city of Tirana.
In 2013 Albania had 40 casinos which was reduced to 20 by 2018. By January 1 2019 casino gaming was limited to just one company licensed to operate a casino; Apex-al/Adria Entertainment which operates a gaming floor in the 5-star Regency hotel in Tirana. All forms of gambling were banned at this stage apart from the solitary casino and the National lottery.
However, new legislation was signed off by Deputy Prime Minister Erion Brace on September 2 that will see the development of a gambling zone, which will be set up in the capital, encompassing a small area from ‘Skanderbeg Square, the square behind the Palace of Culture, the Youth Park, the area near the Clock and the area behind where the National Theatre once stood, including the Toptani Centre.’ Any company that wants to open a casino must have experience in gambling, be a public company and have capital of at least $1.2bn.
Prime Minister Edi Rama banned all electronic casinos from December 2018, quickly extending the law to ban sports betting and betting on horses and grey hounds. The ban was adapted to include online gaming in January 2019 although recent reports suggest that 47 of the 100 most popular online gambling sites were still accessible from an Albanian IP address.