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How did the state succumb to the gambling mafia? Russian owners take millions from Albanians

How did the state succumb to the gambling mafia? Russian owners take millions

In the show "Money" in Euronews Albania, the scheme of exercising the activity of sports betting in Albania was examined.

But how has the betting scheme worked for 4 years and who are the companies with whom they have created a bond of trust for every dollar gambled? Why have the authorities only given in to the hunt to catch red-handed and punish the people who put up the tags? Let's look at an example. This website invites you to become part of the game, entice you with bonuses up to 100 euros for initial registration deposits and familiarize yourself with the rules, which are written in Albanian.

Bastebet1.com is just one of the gateways to test your luck in gambling. Within it, today there are 696 companies listed with which a contract can be concluded through personal data and bank account. 11 of them enter into direct relations with the players from Albania. But where do these companies operate and who are the shareholders who own them? The provider 1xcorp NV, known as 1XBET, turns over 1.8 billion euros every year and has expanded its activity to 134 countries, including Albania. The brand was registered in 2007 in Cyprus, by 3 Russian businessmen, Sergey Karshkov, Roman Semiokhin and Dmitry Kazorin, who very quickly came into the eye of the investigators for evasion, and today they are facing a series of accusations in court. However, the company continues to operate, since 1 year from Curaçao,

Even the 22BET brand, part of the TechSolutions Group NV with headquarters in Willemstad, Curaçao, offers similar conditions and rules with shareholders that are completely unknown to Albanian citizens, but that they receive millions of euros from Albanian bettors, and do not return anything, except of money earned by the individual on the tab.

"This money is leaving Albania. Anonymous people are taking this money. Bring them to the surface so that we can look at the deputies who play, and the ministers who play and the people who play with large sums and tell them where they find this money" , declares the president of KOKSH Fidel Ylli.

Until 2018, men of all ages, including minors under the age of 18 and the elderly, used to set up tables and stay for hours at betting points. There were those who placed orders for large amounts, and who did not appear in these salons, but after the ban, the activity changed radically.

"In this period, the average age of people who played massively was between 18 and 45 years old. So, the middle age which has had a very large availability of smart phones and above all has been the age which has used technology better" , declares Henri Telharaj.

HOW DID THE GAMBLING MAFIA SUBJECT THE STATE?

Vetëm 2 vite pas rregullimeve në ligjin e lojërave të fatit në 2015, fenomeni i bixhozit, ia doli të bëhej një industri fitimprurëse me xhiro vjetore 130 mln euro. Nga këto pjesa më e madhe rridhte nga kazinotë, dhe pas tyre vinin bastet sportive. Por, kjo ishte vetëm pjesa e deklaruar, pasi të ardhurat e grumbulluara nga bota e krimit mendohet se arritën në 800 mln euro në vit.

Ato fitoheshin e investoheshin si para të pistë për t’u dhënë fuqi një grushti njerëzish të cilët nuk ishin as më shumë, e as më pak se organizata kriminale që i bënin karshillëk shtetit dhe biznesit të ndershëm. Vetëm nga bastet sportive në vitin 2017, të ardhurat ishin 44.5 milionë euro, dhe në vitin e fundit të ekzistencës, 37.4 milionë euro. Me këto të ardhura, buxheti siguronte nga ky sektor, rreth 15 mln euro çdo vit.

The sports betting tax was zeroed after 2018, and only casinos and national lotteries contributed to the budget, namely 6 million euros in 2020 and 12.8 million in 2021.

Taken from Euronews Albania

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