Manabalss.lv public initiatives portal has collected 10,000 signatures in support of New Conservative Party’s (JKP) initiative to ban gambling halls in Latvia.
JKP started collection of signatures in spring this year. The initiative provides for banning gambling halls in the whole territory of Latvia, except for luxury-class hotels. This requires amendments to the Gambling Law.
The initiative description says that the situation with gambling and its consequences in Latvia is critical, therefore amendments should be adopted without delays. However, even if their offer is supported, the slot machine halls will not disappear from the streets overnight. The plan provides for a five-year transition period.
Also, the initiators cite statistics as an argument: € 99 million were lost by gamblers in the gambling halls, € 7 million in land-based casinos at gaming tables, € 18 million in online casinos.
However, the closure of gambling halls may have consequences: by banning one segment of the business, the authorities will provoke an impulse to the development of online gambling. And this, in turn, will entail another set of problems, in particular with the regulation of illegal gambling operators.