Latvia’s strict online gaming policy is apparently meant to protect players and regulate the industry. In its mission to keep a tight hold on the industry in Latvia, the Lotteries and Gambling Supervision Inspection has just blacklisted another 41 sites in the past month alone. This brings to a total of 144 online domains that have been deemed illegal by the authority. This has occurred in only the first month of the blacklist’s existence, pointing to the likelihood that the list will just grow and grow over time. This is greatly to the detriment of the industry, which shows much promise in the Latvian market, if it were to be given a chance.
Latvia’s online gambling market is relatively new. Online gambling was legalized and regulated in 2003. Those wishing to be viewed as a legal site for Latvia’s gambling community need to have a licence, and, at present, pay 10% tax on all revenue. This could fall to 5% taxation if new laws are passed in relation to this.
The law states that transacting with blacklisted sites is illegal. In reality, this makes it close to impossible for online casino patrons to use the sites.
Many of the sites which have been added to the blacklist are legitimate sites, with representation in other European countries. Amongst those blacklisted include Betclic Everest group. This group had three sites already on the blacklist, and now has the dubious honor of having a fourth domain added. The three that were previously targeted by the Inspection authority are Everest Poker, Bet-At-Home and Expect dot.com. This is a big blow to the company, but they are not the biggest victims of this crackdown. Unibet currently has had six of its domains blacklisted, and now Lv-Unibet.com has also been deemed illegal in Latvia. The blacklist includes the other two of Unibet’s dot.Lv sites, plus their dot.com and dot.net domains. The company’s bingo brand, Maria.com is also blacklisted.
There are also some new names on the Latvian online gaming blacklist. Nordic Gaming Group, which was acquired by Betsson in April 2012, has had 2 domains included on the blacklist. These are Triobet2.com and Nordicbet.com. Gala Coral’s Gala Bingo and Gala Casino join their UK coral.co.uk have all been deemed inappropriate for the Latvian gaming market.
There are others who have been highlighted as well, including the Gamebookers.com brand, SmartLiveGaming.com, Interwetten, Betit’s Superlenny.com, Go Wild Casino, BetCris.com and Cherrycasino.com.
With so many blacklisted domains, and so many more in possible danger of being so, the Latvian online gaming industry is in a situation that may result in its total demise over the next few years.