Under pressure from conservative Muslim politicians, the Zaev Government is preparing a law that would close down casinos and other gambling venues from operating within 500 meters from an educational institution.

The huge gambling industry in Macedonia, that centers around sports betting and slot machines employs over 10,000 people and generates 280 million EUR in budget revenues annually, so the law is bitterly contested, especially with the coronavirus linked losses these companies have been through. Casino operators insist that they already upheld the ban on having underage customers, and that in some smaller cities, it’s not possible to operate within city limits and avoid the schools.

The issue was raised by the Albanian DUI party and especially the conservative smaller BESA party, which is an essential part of the SDSM coalition, and demanded a 3 kilometer limit.