With nicknames like “gem of the Baltics” and “hidden gem of the East”, Latvia’s capital city of Riga is known throughout the world for its diversity and provision of a remarkable scene for everyone. Aside from its capital, the country of Latvia itself strategically stands between Estonia and Lithuania and is widely known for its thick forests and open beaches.
When it comes to gambling, Latvia has one of the largest markets in Europe and features an abundant supply of gambling activities and facilities.
List of Casinos in Latvia
Below is a list of all casinos currently operating in the regions of Latvia.
Admiralu Klub Riga
Casino 777 Club Room – Aspaziyas
Casino 777 Club Room – Elizabetes
Casino 777 Club Room – Grecinieku
Casino Klondike Jelgava in Club Tonus
Empire Casino and Lounge
Europa Royale Riga Hotel
Olympic Casino 18.Novembra 113
Olympic Casino Anniņmuižas
Olympic Casino Atbrīvošanas aleja
Olympic Casino Ausekļa 5a
Olympic Casino Barona 3
Olympic Casino Beātes 2
Olympic Casino Brīvības 90
Olympic Casino Brīvības 235
Olympic Casino Dižozolu
Olympic Casino Dole
Olympic Casino Dombrovska
Olympic Casino Domina
Olympic Casino Dzelzavas 17
Olympic Casino Gaiļezera
Olympic Casino Jelgava
Olympic Casino Jomas 78
Olympic Casino Jugla
Olympic Casino Keldiša
Olympic Casino Kuldīgas 15/17
Olympic Casino Kuršu 13
Olympic Casino Latgales iela
Olympic Casino Lenču 5
Olympic Casino Lubānas
Olympic Casino Lutriņu
Olympic Casino M.Nometņu 30
Olympic Casino Madona
Olympic Casino Marijas 12
Olympic Casino Maskavas 220b
Olympic Casino Meistaru
Olympic Casino Minska
Olympic Casino Ogre
Olympic Casino Prāgas
Olympic Casino Pētera 3
Olympic Casino Raipoles
Olympic Casino Raiņa bulvāris 15
Olympic Casino Rīgas 48
Olympic Casino Sakņu 15
Olympic Casino Saldus
Olympic Casino Sarkandaugava
Olympic Casino Satekles
Olympic Casino Stirnu
Olympic Casino Stopiņu iela
Olympic Casino Strādnieku 88a
Olympic Casino Stūrmaņu
Olympic Casino Talsu 35
Olympic Casino Tunelis
Olympic Casino Tālava
Olympic Casino Vienības 7
Olympic Casino Zivju 10/12
Olympic Casino Zolitūdes 34
Olympic Promenade Casino
Olympic Voodoo Casino
Radisson SAS Daugava Hotel and R P Casino
Royal Casino Spa & Hotel Resort
SL Casino Riga
The Vernissage Casino Complex
History of Casinos in Latvia
As the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics dissolved on December 26, 1991, the gambling market instantly picked up. But prior to the disillusion, gambling has been strictly prohibited with due penalties since 1940 in the now-defunct Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. Despite the prohibition; however, pari-mutuel betting on horse races was quite widespread in Riga during the 1950s. The Hippodrome was later destroyed in 1965 due to a succession of fire outbreaks.
Just like Moldova, the gambling industry in Latvia was still in chaos after the country finally gained independence, because regulations were neither clear nor genuine. However, Latvian authorities later managed to properly regulate gambling activities and build a lucrative gambling market, unlike Moldova.
The very first casino in Latvia opened in the summer of 1991. At first, the market was filled with unreliable facilities and questionable operators. In fact, many gambling facilities (casinos and lottery outlets) were opened overnight without any permit whatsoever. Even so, the authorities were to blame as no regulatory body was set up to issue licences, regulate, and oversee the gambling sector.
As an advantage, the unregulated gambling market attracted a lot of businesspeople and organisations to quickly set up and launch their gambling services to a growing audience. Sports betting and slot machines became the most popular forms of gambling in Latvia; a title they still hold today.
SIA Teletoto was (and still is) the leading sports betting operator in the country and runs two of the largest bookmakers: Latbet (1998) and Optibet (2008). Concurrently, slot machines were installed in casinos and gaming halls.
Casino Operators Leave Country After 1994 Laws Pass
In June 1994, the authorities tried to milk the market by officially legalizing gambling with the enactment of two laws: the Law on Lotteries and Gambling Tax and Duty and the Law on Lotteries and Gambling; thereby imposing high license fees and tax rates.
This step contrarily shrank the market as foreign operators flee the country while local counterparts shut down operations. On January 1, 1998, the authorities established the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection (Izložu un azartspēļu uzraudzības inspekcija) under the Ministry of Finance. The Inspection commenced its duties immediately as the sole regulatory body to supervise Latvia’s gambling sector – with the Director of Inspection as the head.
Cleaved into the Supervision and Control Department and the Licensing and Analytical Department, the Inspection’s duties are listed as four: to protect consumer rights, to ensure operators comply with legal requirements, to ensure gambling activities are arranged according to the laws, and to maintain gambling as a recreational activity so consumers are safe from problem gambling.
In addition, the Inspection has many functions which cover licensing, auditing, regulations, taxations, investigations, and others. Ever since, Latvia has reformed to be a massive gambling hub—quite larger than its Baltic siblings. And today, four gambling services, nine online gambling operators, and 14 land-based gambling operators are licensed by the Inspection as listed on the official website.
Amendment to Law on Lotteries and Gambling
Pertaining to laws and regulations, the most effective law — an amendment of the Law on Lotteries and Gambling – was adopted on November 17, 2005, and came into effect on January 1, 2006. Needless to say, the Law has been enacted and tossed around since 1994 but ground-breaking effectiveness came with the 2005 amendment. Interestingly, the Law has been amended numerous times since then with the most recent amendments adopted on September 12, 2013, November 30, 2015, and November 23, 2016; and all amendments came into effect on January 1 of the following year consistently.
According to the Law, there are eight legal forms of gambling in Latvia: bets, slot machine games, card games, roulette (cylindrical game), dice games, bingo, totalisator, and games of chance via telephone. Card games, dice games, and roulette (cylindrical game) are allowed in casinos exclusively. Also, casinos located in Riga must offer at least 10 gaming tables while their peers outside of Riga are required to feature at least five gaming tables.
On the other hand, the minimum number of gaming machines in gaming halls is 20. In general, gambling operators are instructed to pay winnings below €721 immediately; €721 to €14,300 within 24 hours; and €14,301 or higher within 30 days. The national lottery is also subjected to its fair share of strict rules: the total sum of the value of the lottery tickets in a single lottery must neither be under €140,000 for national lotteries nor exceed €14,300 for state lotteries.
Online Gambling Becomes Legal in 2003
Online gambling was made legal by Law No. 15 and 23 of 2003, signed by the Latvijas Republikas Saeimas un Ministru Kabineta Ziņotājs. In 2011, the authorities introduced a concept which makes it possible for problem gamblers to pull out of being allowed to gamble. This is to tackle the increasing rate of problem gamblers or addicted gamblers in Latvia.
Apart from the primary gambling law, the Law on Lotteries and Gambling Tax and Fee and the Law on Lotteries of Goods and Services also contribute to the legal framework. Likewise, there are 13 regulations that complete the gambling legalization; all regulations were enacted by the Latvijas Republikas Saeimas un Ministru Kabineta Ziņotājs (the Saeima and the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia) from 2003 to 2007.
To qualify as a gambling operator in Latvia, an aspiring operator must be registered in the Register of Enterprises of the Republic of Latvia, have a share capital of at least €1.4 million, and foreign members or stockholders of the company must not exceed 49%.
However, foreigners from the European Union Member States, European Economic Area countries, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Member States are not concerned by the last requirement. Gambling licenses are valid for 10 years and taxes are calculated with respect to gaming machines and gaming tables.
Electronic Communications Law of 2011
Furthermore, the Electronic Communications Law — adopted on May 19, 2011, and came into force on June 8, 2011 — makes it possible for the regulatory authority to instruct Internet Service Providers to block any unlicensed gambling website. Payments can also be blocked under the Credit Institutions Law. Yet, the Inspection did not introduce a blocking system until January 2014. The first effect came through on August 1, 2014, with bet365.com, bwin.com, Betsafe.com, Betsson.com, and 16 others blacklisted. Skybet and 21 other gambling websites were added later that month.
In July 2017, the Ministry of Finance announced that taxes would intensify by 30%, which would increase annual gaming table tax from €18,000 to €23,400 and annual gaming machine tax from €3,204 to €4,164. With this, the Ministry aims to generate €8.25 million in 2018 and at least €9 million in the years after. The proposal is still be discussed as of June 13, 2018.
In November 2017, several proposals were introduced to the budget plan of Latvia and were shortly passed. According to the new regulation, taxes are now applicable to gambling winnings starting from January 1, 2018. Similarly, the authorities are presently discussing increasing taxes on gambling operators, games, and equipment, and player safety standards would also be the strictest measures possible.
To finance the State Culture Capital Foundation, taxes will soon be applied to gambling (1.37% on lotteries and 2.21% on others), tobacco (2%), and alcohol (3%) as passed in June 2018. The taxes are termed “sin taxes” and were in use until they were scrapped in 2004; they are to come into force in 2022.
Current Gambling Climate in Latvia
With 63 casinos and hundreds of other gambling facilities, Latvia’s gambling market provides a wide variety of gaming, betting, and lottery options. As earlier stated, several forms of gambling are legal and the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection is the sole regulatory and supervisory authority of the gambling sector.
Latvian casinos and gambling halls are typically well-organised with a beautiful, comfortable, and luxurious ambience. As Latvians themselves are widely known to be friendly, all the casino employees are very kind and pleasant—and also fluent in English.
Apparently, the Baltic language of Latvian is the official language in Latvia, which is also an official language in the European Union. Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Livonian, Romanian, Lithuanian, Latgalian, and Polish are minority languages while English is widely spoken in major regions such as Riga. In fact, all websites of Latvian government have translation options in English and Russian languages.
Pertaining to money, the Euro has been the official currency in Latvia since the Latvian Lats (LVL) were scrapped on January 1, 2014 (1 LVL was equal to 1.67693 USD, 1.42288 EUR, or 1.25305 GBP before it was replaced by EUR.) There seem to be no information on the Internet about casinos setting up foreign exchange desks for players without Euro; so, WCI advises tourists to have Euro banknotes when in Latvia.
Nonetheless, there are many banks, exchange centres, and even ATMs (that support currency exchange) spread across the country.
Casinos in Latvia by Area
The capital city, Riga, hosts the highest number of casinos in Latvia, which is nearly half. Other noteworthy cities are Jelgava, Liepāja, Daugavpils, Cēsis, Ludza, Ogre, Rēzekne, Jekabpils, Jurmala, Valmiera, and Ventspils. However, Ādaži, Limbaži, Lielvārde, Tukums, Kuldīga, Lecava, Aizkraukle, Alūksne, Līvāni, Madona, Balvi, Bauska, Salaspils, Saldus, Sigulda, Gulbene, and Dobele all feature at least one casino.
The issue of the largest casino in Latvia is quite debatable. There is a casino called The Vernissage Casino Complex, which features 135 gaming machines and 18 gaming tables. However, the current status of the casino is impossible to find online as it neither has a website nor is it listed on TripAdvisor, Google, or any other related website—i.e. it might be permanently closed. On the other hand, most websites, Latvians, and tourists pronounce Olympic Voodoo Casino the largest casino in the country, considering its provision of 26 gaming tables and over 100 gaming machines in a 24,500 sq ft gaming space.
Types of Casinos and Gambling in Latvia
In Latvia, the bulk of casinos are connected to large, three- to five-star hotels where typical hospitality services are within easy reach. For example, Europa Royale Riga Hotel is one of Europa Group Hotels’ two establishments in Latvia, where hotel rooms and suites, a restaurant, a bar, meeting rooms, a sauna, and a summer terrace are available. On the other hand, there is a number of standalone casinos where games and a handful amenities are offered while situated close to renowned hotels such as Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel.
Table Games and Poker in Latvia
In addition to slot machines, most casinos also offer Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker, Russian Poker, European Roulette, Blackjack, Texas Hold’em Poker, Open Poker, American Roulette, Oasis Poker, Four Card Poker, Five Card Draw Poker, Omaha Hold’em Poker, No Limit Texas Hold’em, and Pot Limit Omaha.
Bingo Halls in Latvia
Zilais Dimants, one of the largest slot casino chains in Latvia, also operates two bingo halls in the country: one in Riga and another in Daugavpils. Another popular bingo hall is Dimanta Bingo, which is operated by DLV. And there is a few more spread across the regions. Poker is also popular, with the likes of Royal Casino Poker Club (at Royal Casino Spa & Hotel Resort) attracting many visitors daily by offering tournaments every week. And casinos, especially Olympic Casino’s, also organise poker tournaments.
Lotteries in Latvia
Concerning lotteries, Latvijas Loto is Latvia’s state-owned national lottery. It offers the multinational lotteries Vikinglotto and Eurojackpot, as well as SuperBingo, Loto 5, Latloto 5 of 35, Keno, Joker, Joker 7, and 14 momentary games including Doubles, Joker Happy Hat, and Hundred Years Lottery. The lottery has more than 760 sales points spread across the length and breadth of the country.
Sports Betting in Latvia
The sports betting market is greatly focused on punters betting on football/soccer and ice hockey both online and in betting shops. While basketball, cycling, tennis, motorsport, rugby union, and athletics are also popular sports, horse and greyhound racing is almost nonexistent in Latvia. Meanwhile, betting shops are available on a massive scale and online sports betting is even more in demand.
Horse Betting in Latvia
Horse racing has not surfaced since the only Hippodrome in Latvian history closed in 1965, but things are looking up for greyhound racing as UK’s William Hill and Latvia’s SIS signed a partnership deal in January 2018 geared towards establishing a greyhound service.
Online Gambling in Latvia
When it comes to online gambling as a whole, Latvia has an impressive market. Licensing is required for online gambling operators and, as earlier said, ISPs block unlicensed websites. However, some unlicensed websites (especially lotteries) are accessible in Latvia until the authorities blacklist them.
Facts About Casinos in Latvia
– Similar to most countries, the minimum gambling age in Latvia is 18 years and a valid government-issued ID card is required at the entrance. Often times, there are no entry fees—but registration is always compulsory.
– The law states that smoking is only allowed in premises isolated or specifically designated for smoking.
– Based on data collected by the European Casino Association, Latvian casinos recorded 606,000, 641,000, 618,000 and 667,000 visits in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 respectively.
– Founded in 1972, VAS Latvijas Loto was a subsidiary of Sojuzsportloto (created by the Soviet Union) until it took full control on January 10, 1993. Originally, the lottery was established to organise two state lottery games: Sprints and Sportloto. Today, the lottery is a member of both World Lottery Association and the European State Lotteries and Toto Association, and organises both state and national lottery games.
– The highest prize ever won in a Latvijas Loto game was in November 2016, when a resident of Riga won €815,001 in Vikinglotto. The second and third highest-winners won €600,000 in Keno (December 2015) and €596,446 in Eurojackpot (January 2017).
– Olympic Casino Latvia SIA, a subsidiary of leading eastern European gaming services provider Olympic Entertainment Group AS (OEG), has the widest catalogue of casinos in Latvia: 30 in Riga, four in Daugavpils, three individually in Jelgava and Liepāja, two independently in Ventspils and Rēzekne, and one separately Jurmala, Cēsis, Valmiera, Sigulda, Saldus, Ogre, Madona, and Jēkabpils. The operator also offers an online gambling service at OlyBet.lv, which features sports betting, casino games, poker, and live betting and live dealer functionalities.
– A vote was held by the Riga City Council in May 2017, in which the majority voted to bring all gambling facilities in the Historic Centre of Riga to a halt, with an exception of those situated in 4 to 5 star hotels. Accordingly, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the outcome. Out of the 42 affected facilities, Olympic Casino Latvia owns and operates seven—and so dragged the City Council’s decision to the District Administrative Court in Riga, emphasizing that it is “against the Latvian legislation in force.” This is mainly because Latvia contributes the highest to OEG’s revenues, with a profit of over €24 million in 2016 and more than €16 million generated in Q3 2017, which was followed by €11 million in Estonia. (Ironically, OEG is an Estonian company based in Tallinn.) Unfortunately, the District Administrative Court also ruled in favor of the order and put the stress on the edict that two of OEG’s casinos must have shut down operations by September 2022 and the other five by November 2022—other facilities have October 2022 as their deadline. Luckily, OEG’s Latvian flagship—Olympic Voodoo Casino—is not affected by the ban and the company has vowed to charge the City Council to court until justice is served.
– In Latvia, slot casinos, slot machine clubs, gaming clubs, gaming halls, gambling halls, or casino clubs are almost identical to casinos due to the fact that they are as massive as they come. Even though most do not offer table games, some gambling halls feature more than 50 slot machines and a handful of table games. To simplify, there are only minuscule differences between casinos and gambling halls in Latvia.
– Zilais Dimants (Blue Diamond) is one of the biggest slot casino chains in the country; it has 23 facilities in Riga, two individual facilities in Daugavpils and Ventspils, and one facility each in Aluksne, Jelgava, Jurmala, Valmiera, Tukums, Sigulda, and Salaspils.
– Another chain is Bumerangs, which operates more than 400 slot machines and amusement gaming machines in over 30 electronic gaming clubs spread across the country. All machines are connected to a “Megalat” jackpot system with a prize of up to LVL 10,000.
– With over 10 clubs, Vulkan Gaming Club is not as big as other gaming club chains.
– SIA Joker Ltd. operates more than 60 gaming halls in 28 Latvian cities and offers online gambling at SynotTip.lv.
– Other popular casino clubs include Aladins Casino Club, Tower Casino Club, Tobago Casino Club, Play&Boy Casino, Chicago Casino, Casino Plaza, Casino Renaissance, and Casino Karo.
– On December 19, 2005, Baltic Gaming AS, the owner and operator of the brand Bumerangs, became a subsidiary of Olympic Casino Latvia.
– FenikssCasino.lv is one of Latvia’s local online gambling websites, which offers video slots and live table games. Fenikss Laimētava and Admirāļu Klubs own and operate the website and also more than 120 gaming clubs in the country since their debut in 2000. These gaming clubs altogether feature over 3,300 slot machines and about 1,100 employees.
– Optibet.lv and 11.lv are popular gambling websites licensed in Latvia; both offer sports betting, slots, and live casino games.
– On May 23, 2018, Sweden-based MRG (Mr Green & Co Technology AB) consented to an arrangement to secure 75% of 11.lv—and one of the operator’s two original owners retained 25%. In the first quarter of 2018, the operator generated revenues of €944,000 and EBITDA of €162,000.
– On February 27, 2017, a lucky Latvian won £41,710 in one of Zilais Dimants’ slot casinos while playing IGT’s Lantern Riches.
– Zilais Dimants’ slot casinos and bingo halls offer free coffee, tea, and mineral water to their registered rewards programme members subdivided into Bonus Club, Brilliant Club, and Diamond Club. In addition, members can reserve slot machines, receive invitations to special events, and relish bonus point multipliers, bar discounts, and starting bonuses.
– Casinos in Latvia have a special room called Club Poker, in which various poker games are available exclusively.
– Royal Casino Poker Club at Royal Casino Spa & Hotel Resort offers Wi-Fi, soft drinks, and access to Studio 69 Night Club—all free of charge.
– Latvian casinos that are reportedly closed include Europa Club Casino and CityCasino. On the contrary, the European Casino Association (ECA) states Latvia “has seen no casino closures since 2013.”
– Olympic Voodoo Casino is situated at Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija and offers live music performances at every Friday and Saturday night. The 24/7 casino also features the sole OlyBet sports betting point in Riga, a sushi bar, and a Japanese restaurant called the Shogun Restaurant. In contrast, a handful of TripAdvisor users have given the casino a thumbs down singly for having unethical employees.
– The 2012 Indian spy film Agent Vinod has a scene shot in Olympic Voodoo Casino.
– The gambling sector of Latvia has employed almost 4,000 people.
– As of June 13, 2018, the top three highest-earning Latvian professional poker players are Mihails Morozovs ($1.772 million), Kaspars Renga ($640,000), and Eduards Kudrjavcevs ($558,000). Kaspars Renga is also the highest-earning player of the poker tournament organised by Olympic Voodoo Casino, with $59,000 earned so far. (All figures approximated to the nearest thousand.)
– An employee of the Valsts Ieņēmumu Dienests (State Revenue Service), by the name Vladimirs Vinokurovs, made nearly €160,000 (2014), €190,000 (2015), and €240,000 (2016) from online sports betting. Seeing this strange pattern and earnings from gambling, he was charged to court; the investigation found him unguilty but the court ruled otherwise with a penalty of 200 hours of community service.
– Evolution Gaming is a Latvia-based live dealer gaming company, which is one of the Europe’s largest. On January 11, 2018, the company announced its plan to hire 1,600 Latvians. This would make it the country’s largest employer considering the company has more than 3,000 employees already. Evolution Gaming generated a EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation) of €44.6 million out of its €115.5 million turnover in 2016.
– SIA Garkalns, which was originally owned by leading European gaming operator Ritzio International, operates 20 slot casinos and 432 slot machines in Latvia. Olympic Casino Latvia acquired the brand on December 2, 2015, for an undisclosed amount of money. In 2014, the brand generated more than €6 million with profits of nearly €2 million.
– As of May 7, 2018, 1,260 people have applied to opt out of being permitted to gamble. However, the measure has proved ineffective thus far because operators still welcome those players into their facilities.
– In 2017, the Latvian gambling industry yielded a turnover of €196 million from gaming machines, €17 million from table games, and €28 million from interactive gambling activities.
– On the official website, the Lotteries and Gambling Supervision Inspection stated that 2017’s GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue) amounted from gaming machines (81%), online gambling (10%), gaming tables (8%), betting (0.87%), and bingo (0.13%). On the other hand, the first quarter of 2018 reported 79% from gaming machines, 14% from online gambling, 6% from gaming tables, 0.92% from betting, and 0.08% from bingo.
– In May 2018, LMS.LV reported that about one in every 100 Latvian is addicted to gambling.
– By popular opinion, Latvia is the leader of live casino studios in Europe; the likes of Evolution Gaming, Playtech, and Ezugi have studios in Riga.
– In the middle of 2016, leading gambling company Playtech purchased a property of 91,493 sq ft in Vecrīga, Riga to launch the world’s largest next-gen live casino studio with strengthened storage, security, a revolutionary monitoring system called Mission Control Centre, a development and research lab, and a training campus for live dealers. The purchase occurred with respect to a deal signed by Playtech and OPAP, the then-state-owned lottery monopoly of Greece. The construction started instantly and rooms are being constructed sequentially. Sky Casino’s facility was completed in February 2017 and the online casino migrated its operations in April 2017. All gambling services using Playtech’s technology are to migrate as soon as their individual facility is completed. These include Ladbrokes, bet365, and Paddy Power Betfair.
– There are more than 600 gambling websites accessible in Latvia.
– On May 15, 2014, the gambling regulatory bodies of Baltic states (Estonia’s Tax and Customs Board, Latvia’s Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection, and Lithuania’s Gaming Control Authority) signed a Cooperation Agreement. The Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection also signed a Cooperation Arrangement alongside the gambling regulatory bodies of the EEA Member States pertaining to the issue of online gambling on November 27, 2015.
– The Unibet Open poker tournament was held in Royal Casino Spa & Hotel Resort from December 5 to 8 in 2013. Florens Feenstra, a professional poker player from the Netherlands, won the tournament with a prize of €74,976. Florens is quite popular in the poker world; his Global Poker Index Ranking is 351st according to The Hendon Mob.
– On January 31, 2018, key online and mobile casino games supplier iSoftBet launched its suite of 35 brand new and existing games in Estonia and Latvia—after testing them via Quinel M. Limited, an independent testing lab and inspection firm.
– According to The World Bank, 75.8% of Latvia’s population has access to the Internet.
– Latvijas Spēļu biznesa asociācija (Latvian Gaming Business Association) is a nationwide association of gambling operators in Latvia, which was registered in the Register of Enterprises of the Republic of Latvia on October 3, 1995, and in the Register of Societies and Foundations of the Republic of Latvia on January 19, 2006. The association is in corporate partnership with the European Casino Association, Latvijas Tirgotāju asociācija (Latvian Traders’ Association), and Employers’ Confederation of Latvia.
– In 2016, Pētījumu centrs SKDS (a Latvia-based research centre established in 1996) carried out a profiling survey of gambling participants in Latvia and found that the majority of employed men from 25 to 34 years access a casino or gambling hall regularly. The survey also found that less than one-thirds of Latvian locals aged 18 to 74 years have gambled at least once. Lastly, 67% spend €10 or more per month on gambling while 20% win about €10 per month and 13% win from €11 to €50 per month.
– As of June 2017, there were 321 land-based casinos and gambling halls, 8,826 gaming machines, and 183 gaming tables registered and licensed in Latvia.
– In June 2008, top online gaming company Nordic Leisure AB (previously known as Redbet Holding) acquired Latvia’s leading sports betting operator SIA Teletoto.
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Gambling Facts
– Pertaining to Bitcoin gambling, there is a P2P cryptocurrency exchange in Latvia, which aspires to go global with its beta-version launched in February, called Hodl Hodl. This shows the country has an active cryptocurrency community, and even Bitcoin.com reported in April that the majority of businesses (e.g. Internet trading, healthcare, real estate, fashion and clothing, and hospitality services) in the whole Baltic region are tilting towards accepting crypto payments. (This even includes Latvia’s airBaltic, the state-owned airline, ultra-low-cost carrier, and flag carrier.)
– However, cryptocurrencies are neither legal or illegal in Latvia and the authorities are yet to regulate the concept. The only development on the part of the Latvian authorities was made on April 13, when the Ministry of Finance alongside two commissions announced that cryptocurrencies would be accepted as a legal mode of exchange but subjected to specific taxes. And since gambling on offshore websites is unacceptable, Bitcoin gambling is accessible in Latvia only on licensed websites. Coinbase, LocalBitcoins, HitBTC, Bitstamp, CEX.io, and many others support Latvia.
– In 2011, a number of Riga locals established a full-service Blockchain technology company called Bitfury, which now operates as one of the largest cryptocurrency companies with presence in the United States, China, Canada, Iceland, Georgia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Japan, Norway, and Hong Kong. The company’s worth is estimated to be $400 million as of December 2017, with revenues of nearly $100 million that year.
– The very first gambling congress in Latvia (Riga Gaming Congress 2017) was hosted in the Bellevue Park Hotel Riga on October 12, 2017. The congress was a huge success and was attended by industry experts, operators, lawyers, and cryptocurency enthusiasts from all over Europe. Discussions ranged from cryptocurrencies in the gambling industry, trend analyses, fantasy sports, and eSports to advertising of gambling services and products, VR technology, and the utilization of chatbots.