On July 1, 2014, the Latvian Lotteries and Gambling Supervision Inspection (IAUI) started blocking international online casinos without the local license. From 2007 to 2015, 11 of 16 land-based casinos were closed. This trend was caused by the fact that authorities did not want to issue licenses and casinos were closed after the expiry of the previous permission.
Global economic crisis also discouraged the gambling business growth. Only from 2009 to 2010, revenues of land-based venues decreased twice. Latvian online and offline gambling faced hard times.
Lucky streak of Latvian gambling business
Everything has changed over the past year and a half. The Latvian Lotteries and Gambling Supervision Inspection recently provided the report on the first half of 2016: the industry total income reached €113 million (increased by 10%), while financial turnover increased 8.5% and was €102.2 million.
A dramatic improvement was caused by several segments:
- videogame income increased by 74%;
- betting income grew by 17%;
- slot machine income increased by 4%.
Previous year, 320 gambling rooms operated in Latvia with 9000 slots, 18 roulette tables and 55 card game tables.
Only 6 of 13 registered operators are active on the Latvian market: Joker, Latvijas Loto, Admiralu Klubs, Alfor, Optibet and Olympic Casino. The latter owns a major venue called Olympic Voodoo and 20 gambling clubs.
Latvia’s online casino revenue was €18 million in 2016, four times more than two years ago. Currently, 7 online casinos are operating on the market. The country provided 57 betting pools with licenses.
Inspection representatives believe that online operators’ revenue has increased due to the expanded range of services. Users have no reason to visit illegal resources when they can test new slots, bet or play their favorite card games on safe platforms.
Promising future of Latvian gambling
The Latvian gambling business has perfect prospects. It is proved by the fact that Playtech, gambling software developer, has established the live casino studio in Riga.
The world’s largest studio is located in the very heart of the Old Town. It is equipped with advanced software and hardware, cameras, customized tables and has a great amount of gambling zones.
The Latvian studio will cover a majority of European live casinos, providing players with the access to the best game content anywhere and anytime.
The country shows an increasing interest to the gambling sector, among businesses as well: this year, Riga will host its first specialized gambling conference for those whose professional interests are related with gambling.