Albania orders ban on more than 340 online betting sites

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 9, 2019 15:09

Albania orders ban on more than 340 online betting sites

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  • While many of the red-flagged websites are still accessible, including some key Albanian ones, experts say imposing a complete ban will be an almost mission impossible due to a variety of technological options

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TIRANA, Jan. 9 – Albania’s electronic communications watchdog has ordered the country’s internet service providers to ban access to hundreds of local and international online sports betting and casino portals following a nationwide ban on online gambling, effective since Jan. 1, 2019.

The electronic communications authority, AKEP, has identified 343 local and international sports betting and online casino portals, including global giants such as williamhill and bwin.

“Every [ISP] entrepreneur is obliged to act immediately on the ban of access to illegal content and immediately notify AKEP on blocking their access,” the electronic communications authority says in a statement.

While many of the red-flagged websites are still accessible, including some key Albanian ones, experts say imposing a complete ban will be an almost mission impossible due to a variety of technological options.

In addition, the Albanian government has hinted the ban will be temporary and could also consider new legal changes to turn sports betting into a state monopoly.

Albania has more than 25 internet service providers with the four largest having a market share of 85 percent.

Internet is accessed in the majority of the country either through ISPs or mobile phone operators.

Dritan Shakohoxha, a renowned sports commentator in Albania, says gambling continues secretly in the country despite the ban, alleging that powerful Russian companies have entered the country.

“The betting shops that used to accept bets [until Dec. 31, 2018], have only removed signs and continue operating the same to before. Powerful Russian companies have entered the Albanian market. They run their own portals in Albanian,” Shakohoxha has told a local TV talk show.

Albanian police have identified more than a dozen cases of illegal gambling activities in Tirana and outside the Albanian capital city in the past few days and initiated legal action against ten people, including three gamblers, for organizing and participating in illegal gambling activities, in legal sanctions that could see them fined or face a prison sentence of up to six months.

 

Read more: Albania launches crackdown on illegal gambling following nationwide ban

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 9, 2019 15:09