The Gambling and Lotteries Law of 2005 created a framework for all gambling operators, be it land-based or online, so the operators can legally do business in Latvia. This paved way for licensing process, and the documents that the operators need to complete to operate a casino in Latvia. Land-based gambling was legal even before 1998 when the Law on Gambling and Lotteries was passed by the parliament. Online gambling is legal in Latvia since 2006. Unlike many post-Soviet countries, Latvia never imposed strict restrictions on casinos and sportsbooks. You can find some of the best casino bonuses at the popular Latvian casinos like Kazino 777, William Hill Latvija, Olybet, Vulkan Vegas, and Nomini.
Slot halls are also legal in the country. In fact, the Latvian gambling sector is dominated by slots. The majority of gambling venues in the country are located in the capital city of Riga, including the Royal Casino Spa & Resort Hotel, the largest casino in the country. The city’s Olympic Voodoo casino is the country’s poker hub, and is popular for hosting tournaments on a regular basis. Riga also hosted the Russian Poker Tour in 2010 and 2011 at the Royal Casino. The city had hosted Eureka Poker a few years earlier.
Gambling in Latvia is regulated by the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Authority, as well as the State Revenue Service and the police, as per the laid down procedures for different regulators. Gambling activities can be provided only by licensed casinos, bingo halls, gaming halls, and betting places. The gaming hall can have 20 gaming machines installed and operated. It is prohibited to install and operate roulette, card and dice game tables outside the casino.
An online gambling operator in Latvia can lawfully provide its services to customers online if it has a valid gambling license. Two types of gambling licenses are provided by the government to operators in Latvia. These are
Full-fledged gambling license: It enables an operator to provide its services both for land-based and online casinos.
Interactive gambling license: The operator having an interactive gambling license is allowed to provide only online services.
There is a separate license for the specific operators of live dealer studios located in the country. Currently, 13 operators are licensed to offer igaming to the players in Latvia. Latvian Government has licensed some European internet gaming sites to operate within the country.
Additionally, special permits can be obtained both by Latvian citizens and foreign nationals for operating gambling activities related to lotteries, gaming machines, casinos, and sportsbooks. In comparison to other European Union (EU) countries, the cost of obtaining a Latvian license to operate a casino in the country is relatively low. The gambling business must also obtain eCOGRA certification to confirm the fairness of its gambling software.
Online gambling activities
All online gambling is covered by the interactive gambling category, and permitted with an interactive gambling license. The only exception is online lottery which is covered by Latvijas Loto. Latvian gambling laws do not differentiate between the games of chance and skill, and games of pure luck. That way, online poker is also included in the interactive gambling category. Other online casino games popular in Latvia include blackjack, baccarat, progressive jackpot slots, and live dealer games.
It is permitted to organize slot games, slots, wagering, bingo, and games of chance electronically. Betting through telephone and electronic communication is also accepted. The total value of winnings in interactive roulette (cylindrical games) or card games may not be less than 80 percent of the total bets placed.
Tips for a pleasant gambling experience
For a pleasant gambling experience, follow these tips:
Pick a trusted and licensed operator. It is hard to go wrong with an online or offline casino which is legally licensed to operate in the country.
- Read reviews by the real players. This way, you will be able to know about the experiences of the real players playing in the casino, and any issues they faced.
- Stick to a bankroll that you can afford to spend on entertainment and the games of chance. This will prevent you from making emotional bets or doubling them in an effort to chase the previous losses.
- Study the rules of the games you are playing. This will allow you to know your winning odds, and adjust your bets accordingly.
- Play on the casinos with a high RTP (Return to Player) to maximize your winning odds.
Gambling in Latvia can be fun if you are able to hone your odds-calculation skills. Casino winnings are not taxed if the amount of winnings during the taxation year does not exceed €3,000.
Although Latvia has a liberal gambling environment, there are noticeable exceptions, like blood sports such as chicken fight which are banned as they feature elements of animal cruelty.
The Latvian gambling associations are extremely strict in maintaining the security and safety of all gamblers, and keep all the gambling regulators and the casino platforms updated about the best gambling practices. Moreover, Latvian casinos and gambling industry is growing, and the credit largely goes to liberal government policies and the Control Department.