Gambling & Crypto Writer
The Latvian online gambling market, regulated by law, is showing positive development results, while the government, meanwhile, plans to start blocking payments in the unauthorized online gambling competition sector in 2020.
According to data recently published by the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection (IAUI), it became known that for the nine months ended September 30, state-licensed gambling operators generated combined revenue of 237.1 million euros, which is 12.2% more than the same period last year.
More than 171 million euros of this amount came from the work of slot machines, which is 9% more than in the same period last year, while the income of gaming tables rose to 3% (12.7 million euros). It’s also known that from January 1, an increase in taxes on the mentioned areas of gambling is expected.
Nine licensed online gambling operators contributed 38.8% million euros in total annual revenue, up 35.5% from last year. Most of the income from online gambling games came from casino games (27.86 million euros, + 38%). The second place is occupied by sports betting (10.6 million euros, + 28.3%), while the income from card games increased by 77.7% (up to 303 thousand euros).
The IAUI’s efforts to “clear” the digital space for its nine operators are ongoing. The number of blocked international domains rose from 71 to 1186, however, according to estimates, unauthorized gambling on the Internet still makes up 38% of the total Latvian market.
With the goal of 2020, the IAUI will add methods to solve this problem in the form of adopting relevant amendments to local laws approved this spring. Now, starting January 1, processing payments on behalf of any gambling site that doesn’t have an IAUI approval mark will be considered illegal.
Latvian Finance Minister Janis Reirs announced in November that this month local financial institutions will begin testing their new payment blocking systems to ensure that the system is ready to start work in January. Also, financial institutions will be required to submit detailed reports on the receipt of funds from unauthorized gambling providers to the State Revenue Service. After that, the SRS will determine the penalties that will be imposed on these international fraudsters, who, in all likelihood, can ignore strictly formulated rules and continue their activities. However, local banks will be fined € 20,000 for assisting online gambling operators in conducting unauthorized transactions.
It should be reminded that Latvia’s parliament has approved proposals to raise certain land-based gaming taxes in the country, including the measures in the 2020 budget. Slot machines, roulettes, cards and dice games will all be impacted by the new laws, which were proposed in October and will come into effect from 1 January 2020.
However, Latvia’s online gambling market will not be impacted by the measures.