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BIRN: The Law Commission approves the gambling law with reservations

BIRN: The Law Commission approves the gambling law with reservations

The government plans to bring back gambling 5 years after it passed a law banning it with fanfare. The Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance, Vasilika Vjero, admitted that the ban by law had caused it to function informally.

"The goal is to formalize it, to tax it," she told the deputies.

The changes in the draft law on gambling foresee the return of sports betting only online, granting the right to exercise this activity only to 10 operators and their selection through a special commission.

The deputy of the Democratic Party, Dhurata Çupi said that the government is openly admitting the failure to close the betting in 2018, while presenting a series of criticisms of the project such as; lack of an analysis of the current gambling market, social impact, data security, etc.

"A summary analysis of the factors that brought about this failure and a financial analysis of the effects of this failure are missing in the report" - she emphasized, adding that this analysis would help prevent a failure of the new scheme.

Çupi also pointed out that the government has not brought a report on the subjects that currently carry out this activity, such as the casino, the national lottery. 

"The progress of the activity so far, the volume of circulation in this market by these entities, the increase in income in these 5 years since the closure of other games of chance still remain unclear and unreasonable," she said.

Socialist MP Fatmir Xhafa had the same request for the ministry.

"How did we completely close the games of chance because they are in the casino" - he said, asking the ministry - "What are the monetary values ​​and how much have the state benefited until 2022 and have there been any measures against them?"

The socialist deputy also raised questions about the need to return betting after 5 years and about the lack of an analysis by the government about the financial and social impact of their closure.

”Relacioni nuk e sqaron, po është një nga faktorët kyç ishte konstatimi i problemeve sociale. Çfarë ka ndryshuar në keto vite që po hapen bastet? – pyeti ai përfaqësuesen e ministrisë.

Ai ngriti dhe pikpyetje mbi garancinë që jep projekti për mbylljen e aktivitetit ilegal. “Sa mundësi kemi që s'do kemi dy lloj aktivitetesh, legale dhe ilegale?”- tha ai.

Po ashtu, Xhafa kërkoi që të ketë kritere më të forta për liçensimin dhe tarifa më të larta.

Trukimi i ndeshjeve sportive nëpërmjet sponsorizimit nga ana e kompanive të basteve ishte një tjetër shqëtësim i deputetëve socialistë.

“Çfarë masash shtese do marrim per të minimalizojme trukimet?”- pyeti Xhafa, ndërsa deputeti Eduart Ndreca e cilësoi këtë si “varje e mëlçive në qafën e ujkut”.

“Mos jeni nxituar dhe nuk e kuptoni çfarë dëmi po bëni?”- tha Ndreca.

The representative of the ministry said that different taxes and strong criteria were foreseen for the companies that will be licensed, as well as for their shareholders.

She pushed hard for the creation of a special fund that would be created with the income from this sector that would be used to finance sports, educational and social projects.

Responding to Xhafa, Vjero said that there are 7 casinos in all of Albania and regarding their contribution to the budget, she added that, "it is 3.1 billion ALL for the year 2022".

Despite the criticism, the socialist deputies approved it in principle after it was agreed that they will convey suggestions and amendments to the committee responsible for Economy and Finance.



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