Gambling related articles

An Amateur's guide to Gambling in Latvia in 2021

From Roberts Belickis.
December 2020.

Latvia’s booming gambling industry was formed in 1990 soon after the country’s independence from Soviet rule. However, the industry was mainly unregulated during its nascent years and the lack of state control meant development was slow.

Fast forward three decades and the Latvian gambling market generates over €146.5 million annually. According to the official figures posted by the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection, online gambling generated nearly €25.4 million in 2019 while another €18 million arrived from brick-and-mortar casinos. Table games posted an additional €8 million in revenue during the year. Considering the fact that this revenue does not include Latvian bookmakers, the market is pretty huge overall.

As of 2019, Latvia operates over 8,643 slot machines across 308 gaming halls and five casinos, 46 card tables, and 15 roulette tables. And while the figures might not sound like much to most, it’s a fair deal when you consider that the industry did not exist barely thirty years ago.

According to the Latvian Gambling and Lotteries Law, gambling events cannot be hosted in residential buildings, medical centers, churches, educational or credit institutions, and other cultural establishments. Gambling is only allowed in casinos, bingo halls, gambling parlors, and betting offices.

Rules and Regulations When Gambling in Latvia

The industry is heavily regulated and the list of licensed properties can be found on the official website of the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection. The law further dictates the regulations that the casinos need to abide by and the maximum number of games allowed on the floor.

1. Casinos

Casinos in Latvia have the right to issue independent rules for their patrons and process personal information. While indoor and outdoor gaming areas are constantly kept under video surveillance. Other surveillance areas include the entrance, gaming tables, reception, and the cash desk.

Entry is restricted to 18-year-olds and above and a valid government-issued ID is mandated by law. The credentials are logged during every visit and the information includes the patron’s name, address, personal identity number, and the date and time of visit.

Payouts are heavily regulated at the casino. While winnings up to €720 are paid out immediately, amounts between €721 and €14,300 take up to 24 hours to credit. Winnings over €14,301 are paid out within 30 days in cash or wire transfer in two phases. Latvian casinos do not offer loans or extend credit facilities to the guests.

2. Slot Halls

According to law, slot halls can have up to 20 video slot machines. Unlike other parts of the world, slot machines can only be installed at registered establishments and not at public places including the subway, mall, cafes, or similar places of mass gathering.

According to the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection, land-based slot machines continue to generate the maximum revenue and earnings from the same during 2019 stands at €111.5 million.

There are over 250 slot halls throughout the country and they offer an eclectic mix of games from traditional fruit machines to the very best of modern video slots. These establishments often double up as sports bars and promote sports betting.


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