Serious limits regarding gambling business may come into force in Latvia
Before the elections of the Latvian parliament, journalists asked representatives of the political party “Regional Alliance” about the future of gambling in the country.
According to her representative, gambling in Latvia should be limited. They can only be allowed in high-end hotels. In addition, gambling operators should closely monitor security measures: minors and people with gambling addiction problems should not have access to such establishments.
It is also necessary to create a special registry, which will include Latvians suffering from gambling addiction, so that hotel complexes and gaming operators can more easily control visitors.
Also, in the party they believe that it is necessary to fight against the spread of online gambling resources.
Brief Information about Gambling business in Latvia
Gaming industry in Latvia is legalized. As of 2016, 14 operators worked in the country, among them ten operators are engaged in land-based gambling institutions. Latvia holds monopoly on the state lottery.
The gross profits of the gambling business in 2016 amounted to more than $300 million. Nearly all the profits come from slot devices - $198m. The portion of virtual gaming in total proceeds is roughly 3%.
There are six casinos, 317 gaming rooms and fifty-seven bookmaking points. The complete sum of the slot machine devices in the country - 8 900.
The mechanism of the regulations of gaming in Latvia is Izložu un azartspēļu uzraudzības inspekcija (Inspection for the Regulation of Gaming and Lotteries of Latvia). The basic directive is the Law on Gaming and Lotteries.
Gaming Regulation in Latvia
Betting in Latvia is controlled by 3 major laws:
- Gaming/betting and Lotteries act;
- Lottery and Gaming income tax and fee act;
- Lotteries of Supplies and Services act.
The directive on Betting and Lotteries have been adopted in 2006. It specifies the basic terms and regulations of the games, as well as the licensing and issuance of permits. Other two acts define taxation for several games and organization of lotteries for supplies and customer services.
The act determines that operators can only install listed and licensed hardware and software. Every single slot machine, game desk and program should be recorded in the register of the Inspection for Gambling and Lotteries of Latvia.
Games can be played only inside certain venues: gambling halls, casino, bingo halls or sports bookies. Casinos in Riga must have a minimum of 10 gaming desks. Gaming Clubs outside the capital – minimum five gaming tables. Only in these institutions you can play roulette, cards and craps.
According to law every gaming spot need to have 20 slot machines minimum. Also, each device must be networked in order to monitor their operation.
Terms of the Latvian Gambling License
To obtain an authorization for the betting or other gambling business in Latvia, the firm need to be a cooperative stock company registered inside of the country for legitimate company operation. The sum of investment in stocks need to be 1,4 million euros minimum. Latvian stockholders must hold at least 51% of the business's shares.
All certificates are distributed by the legislative government authority related to gaming/betting. The license is given for an indefinite time but should be re-approved annually by the Inspectorate.
The inspectorate evaluates the permit in ninety days since the period of filing the request.
Then the business owner must obtain authorization to open a specific location. To do this, he provides a plan premises, documents confirming ownership of the properties, a development scheme for the location and approval from regional authorities. The inspection additionally approves executives of casinos or gambling institutions of a different kind.
The license fee depends on the kind of gambling activities and the location itself. The operator pays for 2 permits:
- Gambling activities in general and for the opening of the gaming location.
- Business owner additionally pays for every gambling facility established on the location.
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