Sports federations and Albania’s Olympic Committee have written to the government to call for the reintroduction of regulated sports betting.
Albania.- A group of sports federations and the national Olympic Committee has written to the Albanian government calling for the reintroduction of regulated sports betting in order to generate revenue to support sports. Albania banned most gambling in January 2019, closing thousands of betting shops and all but a few casinos that have special permits.
The sports federations say they agreed with the 2019 closure of betting shops due to their ubiquity at the time, but they say sports betting should now be allowed through carefully selected operators, which could be both local and international companies.
They say that a legal market is necessary to avoid black-market gambling. Police have attempted to clamp down on illegal gambling operations, but unlicensed betting continues. They also propose the use of age limits and limits on the size of bets to minimise risks of gambling harm.
The letter reads: “We are not proposing the opening of the entire range of gambling, including electronic casinos or bingo halls. Our proposal includes fiscally transparent, league-regulated online sports betting.”
It adds: “The regulation of sports betting by law is a practice followed by many Western countries. In these countries, the income from sports betting is used for the development of sports, sports infrastructure and to support the youth.”
Fidel Ylli, head of the Olympic Committee, said in a speech at the Prime Minister’s Office to mark Luiza Gega’s victory in the European women’s 3000-metre steeplechase: “It was good that [betting shops] were closed. I was in the parliament, and I voted. They were like mushrooms in the rain. But prime minister, the whole world has betting companies.”