Gambling in Kosovo is Now Banned
Kosovo, the small landlocked state in the Balkans, is making some major changes to its gambling laws. Following two separate murders inside gambling venues, gambling in Kosovo is now banned. It’s disappointing news for many gambling fans throughout this territory.
There are actually a few reasons why the Kosovo government has made this change. Let’s take a look back at the history of gambling here, and what’s in store for the future.
History of Laws Surrounding Gambling in Kosovo
Kosovo has a long and extremely complex history. It gained self-government in 1974, yet the 80s saw rising tensions with Serbia. By the mid-90s, Kosovo was engaged in direct combat with Yugoslav and Serbian armed forces.
Fast-forward to 2008, and Kosovo officially declared independence. Interestingly, the first gambling regulator here was established in 2000. This group, called the Tax Administration Kosovo, collects money and oversees the state’s gaming industry.
In 2013, Kosovo established an official set of laws to regulate the gambling industry. This made it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to gamble, and forced gambling establishments to obtain licenses in order to operate. Gambling online here is technically illegal.
The land-based gaming industry was popular amongst locals, yet lawmakers are now shutting it down. So what exactly has pushed Kosovo’s governing body to ban all gambling activities here?
Why is Gambling Here Now Banned?
There are a number of reasons why the government here has unanimously agreed to ban all forms of gambling. First, there were two murders inside gambling venues in Kosovo over the past week. Both murder victims were staff workers at establishments offering gambling activities. Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj claimed the country cannot allow gambling venues to be “areas of crime that claim people’s lives.”
Secondly, gambling simply hasn’t been profitable for the state. The government here has shown an inability to really crack down on the illegal gaming operations taking place every day.
Kosovo earned just €15.8 million in gambling taxes last year. There are said to be 293 gambling establishments in the country, yet most people claim that number is much higher. Many of these venues do not report income to the government.
Over the past several years, we’ve seen a number of countries earn huge revenue from gambling activities. The Philippines, in particular, is profiting massively. Unfortunately, Kosovo isn’t experiencing the same revenue boost, and as a result, the industry here is now dead.
Future of Kosovo’s Gambling Industry
The government of Kosovo will introduce new legislation to completely ban gambling within the next 30 days. That doesn’t necessarily mean that gambling will never be allowed here again. If new laws are established and better oversight of the industry is set in place, gambling in Kosovo could become legal again.
Online gambling activities here may actually become more popular. Many of the biggest gambling sites in Europe will accept players in Kosovo. With all land-based gambling activities banned, more people will begin gaming online.
Perhaps the government here will push for regulation of the online industry. If violence in gambling venues is a primary concern, the iGaming industry could be a good substitute. Nearby Croatia recently began regulating its online gaming market. The next few months will tell us more.
Do you think gambling in Kosovo will ever become legal again? Will the online gambling industry here begin booming? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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