1st January saw significant changes to online and land-based betting in the two nations, with Sweden introducing a new 18% tax on commercial gambling alongside fresh measures to curb problematic wagering and fraud. In Albania, over 4,000 betting shops have closed their doors and online gambling has been prohibited.
The new regulations will apply to registered Swedish state-owned casinos, slots and bookmakers with players needing to be 18 or over to wager online or be at least 21 years of age to play in land-based casinos. The rules also apply to private operators.
The new rules will be enforced by the Lotteriinpektionen, Sweden’s gambling regulator. The opening of the doors to new operators will ensure Sweden continues to be an attractive proposition for operators, particularly given the more restrictive environment which continues in neighbouring countries like Norway and Finland.
Sweden’s most popular brands, including PartyCasino, Unibet and Betsson were quick to secure new licenses and could reap the rewards in 2019.
Online Casino Banned In Albania
Meanwhile, Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama has overseen the introduction of legislation which bans online casinos, gaming and betting as well as almost wiping out land-based operators within one of Europe’s poorest countries.
While bricks and mortar shops have all now closed their doors, major online providers have moved to set up a presence in nearby Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro in a bid to continue attracting Albania’s casino players and gamblers. However, casinos will continue to be allowed to operate in the country’s five-star hotels, which are based in designated tourist areas.
Albanian Prime Minister Rama has long been a staunch opponent of gambling. Since taking up office five years ago, the country’s top official has seen betting and gaming as a root cause of social problems. The legislation includes a provision to shut down any gaming, casino and gambling websites aimed at Albanians.