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Latvia Publishes First Ever Online Gambling Blacklist
- August 11, 2014 By Oliver Young -
In a note published on its website (list can be downloaded directly from here), the Lotteries and Gambling Supervision Inspection of Latvia (IUAUI) announced its first ever online gambling blacklist restricting its residents from signing up and making transactions to and from a couple of foreign online gambling sites.
The country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe issued a list of 44 illegal online gambling websites, namely online casino, poker and bingo operators, that are no longer allowed to offer gambling products and services on the Internet to Latvian residents.
Some of the blacklisted online casino operators include giants like Bet365, 888, EuroGrand and dozens more including well-known operators in the online bingo and poker departments. The websites were banned under the authority of the Electronic Communications Law, Sections 13.1 and 19, which is in force as of August 1, 2014.
An Issue of Control
The biggest reason for the ban of the 44 Internet gambling operators is because Latvia wants to get better control over online gambling and enforce the application of its gambling law. As a result of being blacklisted, operators are now obliged to restrict access and online gamblers from Latvia can no longer register with and make deposits to play online casino games.
According to the note published on the IUAUI website, the insertion of online casinos on the blacklist may have harmful consequences for Latvian players as the Latvian gambling regulator stated a few days ago “on the base of Section 65 of Credit institutions Law and Section 44.2, payment services and electronic money Law, financial transactions to and from illegal online gambling operators are prohibited from August 1, 2014.”
The gambling regulator in Latvia has also signed a cooperation agreement with the gambling regulators of its neighbors namely the Baltic states of Lithuania and Estonia in order to share and exchange good practices in the sector of supervising and controlling the organization of lotteries and gambling.
Online Gambling in Latvia
Latvia legalized online gambling in 2003. The only gambling company that holds a license in Latvia is Optibet Ltd. In compliance with the EU law of 2011, Latvia published draft legalization that would allow offshore gambling operators to offer gambling services to Latvian residents.
However, in 2014 the Baltic country decided to ban particular online gambling operators from offering Internet gambling products. The regulatory board and the IUAUI issued 17 licenses as of 2013 and as of this writing there are more than 160 licensed gambling sites in Latvia. Only a couple of them are available in Latvian language.
According to the online gambling regulatory bill of the country, operators that want to be part of the market must pay stock capital of approximately 1,400,000 Euros as well as a percentage of offshore members in the country stock capital that is not over 49% in order to obtain a gambling license from the state.
Latvia is one of the three states situated on the Baltic region with a population of approximately 1,997,500 inhabitants. The country is boarded by Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Russia and a maritime border to the west with Sweden.