Latvia bans online gambling until Covid-19 lockdown is lifted

Latvia Covid-19

Online gambling has been banned in Latvia until the end of the country’s Covid-19 lockdown, coming into immediate effect. 

These measures have been introduced after clarity was demanded on the country’s coronavirus bill, signed on 22nd March. 

For the time being, this means that all forms of gambling in the Baltic nation is suspended – with land-based wagering being halted last month. 

Operators ordered to stop offering services 

Janis Ungurs, Director of the legal department of the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Authority, has spoken about the news. He has said that as of 6th April, “all online gambling sites are obliged to stop operations”. 

In addition to the above, Ungurs said the following. 

“All legal obligations with players/customers must be carried out”.

The ban will stay in place until at least next Tuesday (14th April). However, Ungurs has told the iGaming media that this is likely to be extended. Depending on the severity of the situation, operations could be ordered to halt for up to three months. 

533 people in Latvia have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which has spread across much of Europe and the world. At the time of writing, one death has been reported.

Online gambling in Latvia 

iGaming revenue in this country of 1.92 million people grew by 132.8% last year, reaching a value of €54.7 million. 

Casino is the most popular online vertical, while sports betting is also a moneymaker for operators here. Both of these enjoyed over double the amount of revenue in 2019, compared to 2018. 

At the beginning of this year, new gambling tax rates came into play for land-based brands. However, online gambling was unaffected by these changes. 

A new self-exclusion scheme has also been launched in Latvia, where residents have the power to block gambling sites and ads for up to 12 months.