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Albania Lifts Ban on Online Sports Betting



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The Albanian parliament has voted to reverse a five-year-old ban on online sports betting. This move comes as a response to the burgeoning black market, which has flourished despite the country’s sweeping gambling prohibition.

The vote, held on February 9, 2024, saw all 75 parliament members present endorsing the regulatory changes. This decision marks a significant departure from the blanket ban on gambling imposed half a decade ago.

The Albanian economy ministry’s documents reveal that the ban’s reversal is an attempt to curtail the spread of illicit betting activities. Despite the prohibition, many betting shops have continued to operate clandestinely, contributing to a thriving underground economy.

Under the new regulation, only 10 betting companies with prior experience will be granted licenses to operate online sports betting platforms. The selective approach aims to ensure that the resurgence of the industry is managed responsibly and transparently.

“We want to make sure that we’re only working with reputable companies who understand the importance of responsible gaming,” stated a spokesperson from the economy ministry.


The largest exhibition of the gaming industry in Bulgaria marks its 15 year



The largest exhibition of the gaming industry in Bulgaria marks its 15 year
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The largest trade exhibition of the gaming industry for Central and Eastern Europe – BEGE, which takes place in Sofia, marks its 15th anniversary this year. The event will be held on November 27th and 28th at the Inter Expo Center, Sofia, and dozens of companies from Europe, the USA, and Asia have already announced their participation.

The day before the start of the exhibition, the traditional BEGE Awards will be handed out. The glamorous ceremony will take place on 26 November 2024 in a sophisticated setting with the participation of representatives from across the sector. The awards are presented to individuals and companies with significant contributions to the gaming and entertainment industry.

During the exhibition, the Eastern European conference of the gaming industry – EEGS will be held, again at the Inter Expo Center. It is a preferred platform for experts who have the opportunity to learn about regulatory changes, technological developments and the latest trends in the sector.

In 2023, dozens of exhibitors from three continents presented their latest products. “We are glad that hundreds of professionals and experts visited BEGE and our expectations for this year are to welcome even more people. For 15 years, the event has become one of the most influential exhibitions in Europe for the sector, gathering experts, professionals and companies from all over the world, covering all verticals of the online and offline segments of the industry,” explained Natalia Baevska, Project Manager of the exhibition.

BEGE provides an opportunity to make business contacts, present the latest products from the industry, which successfully applies the latest technological innovations, including artificial intelligence.

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FK Partizan Signs Sponsorship Contract with MaxBet



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FK Partizan has signed a 3-year general sponsorship contract with MaxBet company followed by official ceremony staged at Sava Centre.

In January, MaxBet became part of Flutter International, parent company of international brands and operations such as PokerStars, Sisal, Adjarabet, BetFair International or Junglee Games.

Flutter International is part of Flutter Entertainment, international sports betting and gambling company present at more than 100 international markets with more than 24,000 employees around the world and over 40 licences.

MaxBet General Director Savo Bakmaz and FK Partizan General Director Milos Vazura addressed guests and media representatives, revealing the details of the project and underlining this is the first big sponsorship in the world of sport since MaxBet joined Flutter International in January 2024.

Moreover, there was a live auction of first Partizan shirt with the MaxBet logo, signed by Partizan players and sold for 260,000RSD.

Proceeds from the auction will be forwarded to Budi Human charity, namely little girl Helena Gavran for her hydrocephalus treatment.

The event ceremony and the introduction of the new general sponsor was attended by Milorad Vucelic, Milos Vazura, Igor Duljaj, Milorad Nikolic, Dragan Velanac, Zarko Zecevic and many other past and present FK Partizan players and personnel.

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Albanian Socialist Party Pulls Gambling Draft Law from Parliamentary Vote



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Update at 15:30 CET (15 Feb. 2024): 

Under the direction of the Speaker of the Assembly, Mrs. Lindita Nikolla, the Assembly convened today in the next plenary session.

Under the conditions of holding an abnormal session, caused by the actions of the parliamentary opposition, the session immediately began with the voting of bills according to the agenda.

The session adopted two bills and two project decisions.

The bill “For an addition to law no. 7651, dated 21.12.1992 ‘On official holidays and memorial days'”, as amended, was approved with 74 votes in favor.

The bill “For some additions and amendments to law no. 155/2015, ‘On gambling in the Republic of Albania'”, as amended, was approved with 72 votes in favor. Also, the respective amendments for this bill were approved with 72 votes in favor.

The project decision “For some changes in the Assembly decision no.127/2018 ‘On the approval of the structure, staff, and categorization of job positions of the Institute of Statistics, INSTAT'”, was approved with 74 votes in favor.

The project decision “For the approval of the organizational structure, staff, and classification of salaries of part-time employees of the Central Election Commission”, was approved with 74 votes in favor.

The Albanian parliament was about to vote to reverse a five-year-old ban on online sports betting as the government admitted that it had failed to control the illegal activity. The proposed draft law, which would permit licensing for ten betting companies with prior experience, was scheduled to be voted on Thursday, February 8, 2024, during the plenary session. However, Bledi Cuci, the Chairman of the Socialist Party, unexpectedly withdrew the said law without providing an explanation.

“At the request of the Socialist Party, it was requested to withdraw from the discussion of the draft law on gambling,” the Speaker of the Parliament, Lindita Nikolla, said. “It was approved with 74 votes in favor.”

Nevertheless, the law on allowing online betting activities in Albania shall be returned for a vote in the parliament. After withdrawing from the vote in the session, the parliamentary group of the Socialist Party has decided to modify at least two of the 33 articles.

Among the proposed amendments, the revised draft includes a minimum requirement for foreign shareholders to hold a minimum of 30% stake in competing companies and/or organisations alongside a mandate for substantial experience in the gambling sector across at least three European countries over a period of no less than three years.

Moreover, adjustments to the re-establishment fund have been proposed, with an increase from the initial allocation of 20 million lek to a minimum of 40 million lek. Additionally, several provisions have been also introduced aiming to limit the influence of betting organizers by prohibiting them from sponsoring sports clubs. Furthermore, the roles of the President of the National Football Federation as well as the President of the Olympic Committee in the Licensing Commission have been eliminated.

Additionally, the proposed legislation act is also trying to strengthen oversight with a new clause that mandates state supervision over the activities of concessionary companies responsible for developing and maintaining the central online monitoring system. This oversight will be carried out by the Licensing Commission through regular audits.

Finally, changes were also made in the articles on the winning rate of national lottery players, which was reduced from 80% to ‘not less than 50%’.

This article has been written by Efstathios Pappas – Business Development Associate at Novibet

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