The draft law that restores online sports betting, filed since July in the Parliament, has begun to be examined in the Committee for Economy and Finance, where changes have been made.
Presented by the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, Vasilika Vjero, the new document has changes from the one published the first two times, starting with taxation. One of the points that sparked the most debate in the first bill was that of taxing players at 15% when they win money from online betting. Now this tax will be zero, according to the deputy minister.
For the organizers of online games the tax will be 15% of the profit and for casinos 25%. But, in addition to the legal obligation, they will also pay 15% of the turnover to the special fund, dedicated to projects in sports and education.
These projects will be reviewed and approved by a council made up of government cabinet members.
Another important change is that of the 'compensation' of players by the state. The draft law foresees the creation of a guarantee fund by the state and by the organizer of the games of chance, where 120 million lek will be blocked in the state and 50 million lek in the company, to be used in cases where the owner of a point refuses to pay the player the amount that he has won.
The outlets that are opened under the authorization of the licensed company, will be called 'financial agents' who will carry out the transactions for the player. They open accounts for players which are then filled by them according to the value to be played with ID number.
Vjero explained that the account will be opened at Albanian Post offices, commercial banks or financial institutions.
The licensing process will be the same, 400 mln capital is required and it lasts 10 years. The process will be competitive according to a scoring system.
Advertising will be allowed in electronic media, football activity spaces and sports programs from 22.00 in the evening to 08.00 in the morning. Companies can also sponsor football teams.
The deputies participating in the commission raised dozens of questions about the ambiguity of the operation and management of gambling.
While she considered the reform to close the games of chance to be a failure, the deputy of the Democratic Party, Jorida Tabaku, raised the concern of the monopolization of the activity of sports betting.
Today, she pointed out, the Albanian government returns the law, where the key sentence is "the return of the sports betting category", which means that the failure of the gambling law is accepted and it is accepted that sports betting has been operating for 6 years.
"Paska and a sports betting association when in the meantime they were not allowed. How can an association exist for an activity that is not allowed? I am afraid that everything will be a monopoly", said Tabaku.
Meanwhile, Socialist MP Erion Braçe, one of the strongest voices against gambling, proposes that sports betting be managed by the state.
"I am for the model that the state should have. Because even then it will be a war between the illegal and legal ones. As long as the illegality will continue, the state must stand in front, not in the middle. If this activity cannot be closed - and it has been proven that it cannot be closed anywhere, and I told you this 5 years ago - let the state have it. The state should stand in front of any kind of structure that will be illegal and that according to this model will be legalized", Braçe said.