In news that will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone at all, despite the January 1st ban on gambling in Albania, a number of betting sites still work within the country.
Under the new rules that came into force at midnight on the 31st December/1st January of this year, all forms of betting including betting parlours, casinos (except in 5* tourist resorts), betting shops, and online betting websites are meant to be completely outlawed. Despite the new rules and most of the countries betting shops abiding by the new rules, there are a number of betting sites that are still available via laptops or desktop computers.
To date, local police have arrested a total of two owners who insisted on providing betting shop services in the country, but it is currently impossible to arrest any operator from outside the country.
The decision was taken back at the end of October 2018 and was a much welcomed move despite the failure to consider providing services to those withdrawing from gambling addiction, or those that will lose their jobs or livelihoods because of the ban.
There is no doubt that gambling has had a huge impact on the country, with one in four regular gamblers having attempted suicide and it being linked to an increase in domestic violence in a country where over 50% of all Albanian women are affected in their lifetime. The government were praised for their decisions but many, including myself have queried just how effective enforcement will be and whether those enforcing will be immune to bribery and corruption that plagues so many other underground and illicit activities in the country.
Whilst a number of external betting sites will display a notice informing users that the site has been blacklisted and is not available in Albania, there are still a significant number of sites that allow Albanian visitors, sign ups, and the placing of bets. Whilst researching this article, I was able to access a total of 47 popular gambling and casino sites out of my sample size of 100.
A number of poker, sports betting, online casino, and virtual slots websites can still be accessed via an Albanian IP address, although whether the government is working to add these to the ‘blacklist’ is unclear at this stage.