Poker as a way of living and subsist is a reality, and it's a fact that poker players will find other ways to play (China, for example, one of the biggest gambling market where the gambling is prohibited).
On October 25, 2018, 75 members of the Socialist Party, the same as Prime Minister Edi Rama voted a law that will force to move any gaming operations after December 31, including slots and betting shops away from residential areas, and it also forbids all kinds of online gambling including online poker. There are more than 3,000 betting shops in the country and the gambling business is estimated at $700MUSD.
The only exception will be the large casinos located in tourist areas such as 5-star casinos in Tirana, the Albanian capital. Also, bingo and lottery will continue operating as they have an ongoing license. Currently, the only legal online gambling company is part-owned by Edi Rama brother, and it will be shut down too.
Gambling companies and betting shops are considering presenting legal actions against the regulation seeking for a compensation, but the Rama's war against gambling has already closed more than 1,000 betting shops throughout the country.
Prime Minister Edi Rama commented that is possible in the near future that online gambling could be a state monopoly, but it didn't seem very convinced on it. Quoting Rama: "We are waging a frontal war with the evil entrenched deeply in our society over the years" which leads to thinking about both political and religious motivations are behind the new regulation.
If you are a poker player living in Albany and enjoy playing online, adapting to the new scenario will be essential, it will be very similar to Israel, China or Colombian one, where poker players can only play on alternative poker rooms like Asian reservations or offshore poker rooms like BetOnline or Black Chip Poker. Worldpokerdeals will be pleased to assist any Albanian player having doubts about where to play online.
It will be necessary to wait for the government position regarding offshore bets, as the regulation is requiring to move all betting shops to the outskirts of towns.
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