Gaming laws in Latvia up for discussion
Changes to the laws governing offline and online gambling in Latvia have been proposed by the country’s Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection. Draft proposals are now officially under review, which cover changes in laws covering all aspects of gambling.
Laws under review include changes to online gambling licensing and enforcement, with a set of criteria in place that must be met before a license can be issued. These include at least LVL 1 million Shareholders capital, the share of non-EU equity holders not exceeding 49% and an impeccable reputation. It’s also proposed that a general license fee will be an estimated LVL 300 thousand, with an annual renewal fee of 25 thousand.
In response to rogue online operators, the draft regulations propose an ISP ban of all unlicensed operators’ websites as well as a payments ban to unlicensed operators’ bank accounts.
The key changes in the area of offline betting include permission for license holders to open betting shops, provided the proposed location meets strict guidelines to be set out by the governing body. All operators will require the same General Gaming License as required for the online operators.
Live poker tournaments will also be regulated, with proposals allowing poker tournaments in casinos, slot machine shops and bingo halls. Again, only those operators holding a general gaming license will be eligible to organise the live events.
Two things have remained constant across all the gaming areas: the first is that the minimum gambling age has been increased to 21. The second is that the government will be financially rewarded for this gambling review, as the draft proposals include a 5% tax on poker prize pools, 5% on online gambling, and 15% on offline betting.