Online Casino Regulation in Latvia – Gambling Legality for Latvian Players
Last Updated: September 21, 2023
The gambling industry has evolved immensely since the form of entertainment first appeared. Every country has its history of how casinos became legal and more accessible to local players, including Latvia.
Casino enthusiasts can now see that the Latvian government licenses several sites that provide good services to players. They can find multiple top recommendations on sites like Akazino, which gives a detailed overview to help Latvian players find a reliable platform. However, Latvian players must understand how these casinos work legally to play safely.
Online Casino History in Latvia
Latvian players first encountered a chance to access online casinos in 2003. They became legal that year, but it wasn’t until 2007 that Latvian online casinos received proper regulations.
Compared to online casinos, brick-and-mortar Latvian casinos started appearing in 1991. The government could provide regulation at that time, so land-based Latvian casinos operated in a grey market area.
When the proper government was established, the number of Latvian land-based casinos decreased due to the government’s high tax requirements for them to operate.
Only after the government founded the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection body in 1998 did the industry improve. The authoritative body eventually became a licensed provider to online casino operators and thoroughly inspected the gambling industry in Latvia.
Although online casinos used to be more accessible in Latvia, the laws changed as the government followed Estonia’s steps on blocking unlicensed sites. The rules were made due to the growing number of unlicensed sites, so Latvian players were not able to access them after 2014.
Latvian players must be careful when accessing unlicensed sites, as they can easily unblock them through a VPN. However, it was stated in 2020 that the financial institution and IPS would forward players’ information trying to access blocked sites to the authorities.
They can fine players up to €350 per transaction or each time they access blocked sites. Moreover, let’s say that if a Latvian player wins from playing slots at an unlicensed site, they’ll receive more charges. The authorities will also fine them back taxes for avoiding paying taxes on winnings.
As mentioned above, the Latvian Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection regulates online casinos in Latvia. When a Latvian operator wishes to open an online casino, they can contact the regulatory body through their website.
The licensing procedure will regulate several aspects of the online casino, which include setting up the games’ RTP, which isn’t common in other countries. The license applies for one year, which operators must renew annually.
A casino operator with a capital company registered in Latvia or a shareholder with a capital under 49% can apply for a gambling license. They must provide several documents the authoritative body requires to ensure that the operator is fit to run a gambling platform.
The operator must not be legally declared incapable of making decisions as determined by the law. The regulatory body will check the operator’s background to see if there’s any criminal record or if they’ve been suspected of committing a gambling-related crime. The crime includes past and ongoing cases of illegal actions that bear the possibility of rehabilitation.
Licensed Casinos Advantages
Why should Latvian players choose licensed casinos? As mentioned above, playing at an unlicensed casino in Latvia can lead players to get fined. However, that’s not the only reason why licensed casinos are safer.
Safety and Security
As licensed casinos are under the regulation of an authoritative body, they must be capable of providing security to players. These licensed sites often offer high-security measures to protect players’ data.
Latvian players who register a new account must share their private information with them, including financial data. Licensed casinos in Latvia often use encryption technologies like SSL to secure the site’s data from cybercriminals. SSL encryption can provide extra protection and ward off third-party manipulations of the users’ data the site has received.
Licensed sites often work with other reputable auditors to further prove their credibility. Players can usually find the auditors’ certificate (if any) at the bottom of the page, alongside additional important information on the site.
When an online casino has received a certificate from an auditor, the site has been tested for fairness and transparency.
Realistic Wagering Requirements
One of the most attractive aspects of an online casino is its bonuses. However, they’ll come with wagering requirements that players must meet to cash out their winnings.
There’s no denying that online casinos are businesses looking to profit, so it’s not rare to find bonuses with extremely high wagering requirements.
Licensed casinos often provide more realistic requirements so bonuses are more attainable and players will be happy playing at the site and continue to do so.