Exploring the Casino Boom in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia

  • 2024-06-27

Although the Baltic region isn't the part of the world that first comes to mind when people think of casinos, the industry is booming there. Increased tourism, regulatory changes, and a shift to online casinos are just a few of the reasons. Latvia has enjoyed increased revenues from online casinos, Lithuania has modernized its laws to accommodate online operators, and Estonia's advanced digital infrastructure has all that's needed to support a thriving online casino scene. And it's not just online platforms benefiting from this boom; brick-and-mortar establishments have also experienced a rise in visitors and profitability. In this article, we look at the factors behind this casino boom and the social and economic impact of this growing industry. 

Online Casinos

Once upon a time, when people talked about casinos, cities like Las Vegas and Macau were among the first to come to mind. That's no longer the case today because of the proliferation of online casinos. In Latvia, online casinos are nearly as popular as land-based casinos, with online revenues accounting for 46.2% of total gross wins in the first quarter of 2023. Similarly, in Lithuania, the online market has thrived, with online casinos reaching 62.5% betting revenue in the first quarter of 2023. Not wanting to be left behind, Estonia's advanced infrastructure has led to significant growth in online casinos since 2010.

Another type of online casino that has become popular in recent years is the social casino. When people first hear the term, they often ask, what are social casinos? Social casinos are a lot like other online casinos, with the main difference being they allow players to use virtual currency instead of real money to play their favorite casino games online. These types of casinos are legal in just about every state and offer a fun alternative to traditional online casinos. 


The casino industry in Latvia has come a long way since the first casino opened post-independence in 1991. Laws passed in 2006 provided a regulatory framework that made the sector's expansion possible. In major cities like Riga and Ventspils, locals and visitors can choose from a number of casinos. While land-based casinos are popular, there's also been a significant shift to online platforms in recent years. 


Lithuania's casinos fall under the purview of the Gaming Law passed in 2006 and are overseen by the country's Gaming Control Authority. Like Latvia, there's been a big increase in online platforms, and legal reforms have helped spur this growth. For those who prefer the brick-and-mortar scene, there are many physical casinos to choose from, which provide a range of gaming experiences, including slot machines and table games.