The Republic of Latvia, a small country in the European Union and one of the Baltic states, is not exactly known as a gambling powerhouse. We tend to reserve that judgment for operators in places like Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, or the one and only Macau.
But that would be a misconception. Since gambling was made legal in 1998, the industry has grown exponentially. Providers offer some of the best casino sites on the planet, matching just about anything the rest of the world has to offer. If you’re looking to expand where you part from your blackjack or roulette money, we’ve got you covered.
What Does the Law Say?
Many countries have casinos, but they often operate in a rather murky gray area when it comes to the law. In Latvia, for example, the first brick-and-mortar casino opened its doors in 1991. But it wasn’t until 1998, when an official Gambling and Lotteries Act was put into place, that gambling in casinos was made fully legal.
Before that, if you needed help from a government avenue, you were out of luck. Gambling laws did not exist to protect the people. In theory, casinos could be unscrupulous in their dealings, unfair in their terms, or their service substandard.
Of course, in practice, this did not happen often, but the requirement of an official license now means companies need to adhere to strict conditions. All customers can make a deposit and wager their money safely in the fact that casinos can be trusted to operate legally. In addition, consumers are protected by EU law.
Latvian casinos are popular in the country, with poker tournaments being particularly lucrative to a talented player pool. But people can also find the range of standard table games, slots, in addition to everything else you would expect from a high-end casino.
Online Gambling in Latvia
With the success of physical establishments, Latvia decided to make online gambling legal in 2006, adding its name to the many countries doing the very same. This served to regulate an already spiraling unofficial market, where many companies provided casino sites to Latvians without legal permission. After the government made gambling legal, a website that does not have the required license is legally required to be blocked by local ISPs.
In short, gambling on ‘unofficial’ sites isn’t legal. This doesn’t just affect companies acting outside of the law, but players as well. In early 2020, the government put a law in place whereby Latvian ISPs are bound to forward the owners of accounts who attempt to transact with unauthorized operators. Players who are caught are handed relatively light punishments: it’s ‘just’ an administrative fine totaling up to €350 per infraction.
Because of these regulations, all players in Latvia are advised to only use licensed online casinos. There are plenty of options, going beyond the state-operated Latvijas Loto, which is the only place you can find lotteries and bingo games.
What Do Latvian Online Casinos Offer?
Before we start, let’s just say that of course, this is just a somewhat superficial summary of what Latvia has to offer. If you want the full A to Z of online casinos in the country, this useful online casino guide in the local language (or in English) leaves no stone unturned and has a full list of licensed websites and vendors.
Latvia has various online casinos that offer services similar to sites like William Hill, Sky Vegas, or other famous casino sites. Once you make your deposit, you’ll see that games have the same high-quality graphics, promotions are offered on the regular, bonuses of all types, and all services you’re used to elsewhere.
In addition, companies have stellar help available for customers, including chat operators who are available 24/7. In other words, conditions are essentially identical to the so-called ‘big players’. All deposits can be made using popular transaction methods, including major credit and debit cards and online services like PayPal or similar. You’ll find a way that works for you.
Latvian sites are also known for their many deposit bonuses. They’re often more generous than other places, and they’re more frequent in number. Wagering requirements are also not prohibitively high; if you have the right strategy, you have a chance of walking away with a nice bonus amount.
Stay Safe Out There!
Finally, before you go, we recommend you verify all third-party information with official government sources (yes, even everything we’ve told you here!). It’s the safest way of ensuring you’re operating under the most recent regulations.
For example, wondering whether the site you have in mind is an officially licensed operator? Not to worry. The government provides further information at the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection. You’ll find the latest information on individual companies there, in no order of reliability.
Before you deposit, ensure your cash is safe. But once that’s out of the way and you’ve found the casino that ticks the boxes, just remember to have fun.