Active players: 300.000
Regulated gambling products: All forms of gambling are banned
Operator types: Unlicensed online bookies, betting shops & casinos, online lottery
Designated Authority: Tax Administration of Kosovo
Kosovo is a small country in the center of the Balkans, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. Recognized by almost half of the UN nations and 22 out of 27 members of the EU, its independence is still disputed by Serbia. Football is the most popular sport, followed by contact sports like wrestling, boxing and judo. World-famous Swiss internationals Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka have Kosovar origin. The country's old rivals’ football derby is the one between Drita FC and SC Gjilani.
Kosovars have always shown a passion for sports and for betting. The country has however had a grey market for years, with many illegal operators both online and land-based. Money was not being collected for taxes and punters’ safety wasn’t guaranteed. So things led to a ten-year ban on all forms of gambling countrywide. The tip of the mountain towards this decision was the abysmal murder of two casino staff, just days before the ban was imposed, in March 2019. The closure of all betting shops has been leading more and more locals to online betting sites in Kosovo, like Betsson and Melbet.
Betting in Kosovo - 5 things to know
- All forms of gambling have been banned until 2029
- No international bookies are licensed in Kosovo
- A betting license used to cost around €25.000
- More than 300 betting shops were closed countrywide
- Online betting falls under no legal framework
Best betting sites in Kosovo
Since not many bookmakers are accepting players from Kosovo, we list the ones that deliver a wide variety of betting markets, along with competitive odds and great promotions on a daily basis.
Online betting in Kosovo: The legal framework
The first gambling law in Kosovo was the '2004/35 on games of chance' of 2006. Containing no reference on online games, it arguably was a rather sketchy approach on behalf of the state. However, the situation is totally different now, since all gambling activities have been banned for a decade, since March 2019.
Just a quick reminder though on how things were up until the imposed ban, in case it gets lifted sooner than expected. Firstly, laws were aimed at operators, with no reference on players. There were no restricted sites and punters were able to enjoy online bookmakers too. Kosovo’s state lottery was responsible for offering games of chance, including betting. A licensing system was in place as well, with applicants having to pay €25.000 and possess a capital of a minimum €300.000.
Truth is that even after forbidding betting, locals are still able to access any online bookie who will accept them. Kosovars are facing no restrictions, either from banks or from the state. Last, in order to be able to address issues, like taxation on operators or on players' winnings, we have to wait and see how things will eventually shape up in the future.
Essential information for bettors
You must keep in mind that all forms of gambling are prohibited, so you may only place a bet online. The online environment is not touched by law and no measures have been taken against players who opt for international bookmakers. No restrictions on payments have been mentioned either. No tax on winnings touches your online betting. This is something that you should only worry about when the local ban is lifted and a new legal framework is set.
Given the absence of laws covering online betting, traditional payment methods are used. The use of credit/debit cards and bank transfer are common and e-wallets, like ecoPayz are offering their services too. There is no need to worry about depositing or withdrawing your money, since there aren't any payment restrictions. Currency conversion fees are not an issue either, with almost any bookmaker accepting Euro transactions.
Despite efforts to set a legal framework, there has always been a grey market in Kosovo, with many illegal premises and operators. Time will prove if the eventual total ban on gambling is the solution. Meanwhile, we have to focus on two things. First of all, we have to wait and see if it will stay in place for the length of time it was suggested (a full decade). Second, we have to see if it’s gonna work as an opportunity for more international bookmakers to open up to the Kosovar market, since online betting is the only available option for local punters. Uncertainty is the word that describes the situation for the time being.
The complete list of bookmakers in Kosovo