Delfi.lv reports that the issue of gambling business is being politicized in Latvia. At the meeting on January 10, Latvian Sejm decided to submit to the budget and financial commission a statement from more than 10 thousand Latvian citizens to ban gambling halls throughout the country. This initiative was defended by the deputy Juris Jurass (New Conservative Party), who stated that amendments are needed and that casinos can only be located in luxury hotels. There are 58 such hotels in Riga and 17 in the regions.
However, the closure of gambling halls contradicts the basic principles of gambling and lottery policies for 2019–2026 just prepared. To start a gambling business in Latvia, large investments are needed. The license is worth 427 thousand euros, the core capital should be 1.4 million euros, so gambling businesses made big investments in the calculation of future income.
The representative of the Ministry of Finance Yana Salminia said that the streamlining of the gambling business is already underway. Politicians and other interested persons had a chance to express their proposals, the draft consideration was already completed. However, on February 26 the budget and financial commission decided to review the document again. Each year, gambling business pays in about 69 million euros to Latvian budget.
The turnover of gambling operators in Latvia increased last year by 11.7% compared with 2017 and amounted to 277.701 million euros, according to the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of the Republic of Latvia.
Financial results of gaming market in Latvia 2017-2018 (million EUR)
|Total turnover of gambling operators||265,537||293,467||110,5|
|GGR from gambling, incl,||248,619||277,701||111,7|
|Gaming tables (roulette, cards)||17,909||16,649||92,9|
|Other activities (bars, billiard, etc.) 1.-2.||16,918||15,766||93,2|
There are all together 15 gambling operators and State owned Joint Stock Company „ Latvijas Loto” (state scale lotteries). There have been issued: 11 land-based gaming operation licenses, 4 betting point operation licenses, 9 on-line gaming operation licenses, 1 state lottery license.
The total turnover of gambling operators in 2018 grew by 10.5% to 293.467 million euros. The total estimated profit of these 16 companies, amounts to 80.998 million euros in 2018, which is 18.5% more than in 2017.