The Prime Minister for the small eastern European nation of Albania has reportedly reversed his long-held aversion to gambling by approving a plan that is to see the capital city of Tirana play host to a bespoke casino zone.
According to a Tuesday report from G3Newswire, the move from Edi Rama (pictured) means that the municipality of approximately 900,000 inhabitants could soon feature more than its one current casino, the Regency Casino venue located within the five-star Hyatt Regency Hotel Tirana.
Albania was reportedly home to 40 casinos as recently as 2013 but saw this tally reduced to 20 five years later as Rama’s ruling Socialist Party sought to improve the economic standing of one of Europe’s poorest nations. This register was purportedly further shrunk to only one from January of last year while the flamboyant Prime Minister subsequently banned electronic gaming parlors before later extending this prohibition to all forms of online gambling and sportsbetting.
However, G3Newswire detailed that recent reports suggest that 47 of the world’s 100 most popular iGaming sites are still accessible from computers featuring an Albanian IP address, which has raised fears that valuable funds are now illicitly leaving the country without being properly monitored or taxed.
In throwing his considerable weight behind the plan to create a bespoke casino zone in Tirana, 56-year-old Rama is reportedly following the lead of Deputy Prime Minister Erion Brace, who signed enabling legislation into law two weeks ago that will allow experienced foreign gaming operators to set up shop in the coming district so long as they can demonstrate minimum financial resources of at least $1.2 billion.