Latvia to Restart the Gambling Industry on June 9

Banned since March, the gambling industry in Latvia is allowed to resume operations as of next week.

Latvia’s Gaming Banned Since March, Bill Passed to Restart Next Week

The gambling industry in Latvia is planned to return as of June 9. The legal gaming operators in the country can reinstate business following a parliament bill. The Saeima, which is Latvia’s parliament, has passed a bill yesterday, June 5, that effectively allows the return of gaming. Under the bill, both online and land-based gaming operations can return to business. With the return of business, the country marks the end of Latvia’s state of emergency.

All gaming operations in Latvia were banned after a bill introduced on March 22. This was a direct result of the country’s government aiming at reducing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Back in April, the Latvian government updated the bill, effectively banning online gaming with instant effect. The emergency bill however is not the first hit on the gaming market in the country. Last year, the Latvian parliament made changes in the industry’s taxation and fees. According to the government, this move was solely to add fresh funds towards the state budget.

Not Everyone Agrees With the Gaming Industry Restart

With the Latvian bill being passed, operators can resume operations as of June 9. Despite the gaming industry losses, some Latvian deputies disagree. New Conservative Party members Krišjānis Feldmans, Gatis Eglītis and Linda Ozola submitted an updated bill which aims at continuing the land-based gambling ban in Latvia. Their bill however was rejected.

The deputies’ bill quickly caught the eye of the Latvian Gaming Association (LGA). According to them, proper actions were taken by the retail gambling prior to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. LGA also pointed out that land-based also took measures towards problem gambling. The association also said: “Even before the ban on gambling, industry operators implemented both the virus prevention measures set out in the recommendations of the authorities and measures promoting safe and responsible gambling.

In addition, the association outlined their specialized action plan towards reducing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The measures would include enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols, frequent airing of the rooms but also limited customers per venue. LGA pointed out that as per the action plan, there must be one person per every four square meters. In conclusion the association noted that enhanced social distancing will be applied as well as monitoring of visitors to ensure all rules are followed.

Gaming Industry Around the Globe Prepares to Restart Business

Elsewhere in Europe, the UK announced that the betting venues will reopen as of July 4. Measures in the UK venues will be similar to the Latvian ones. Punters will have access to hand sanitizer, social distancing is also going to be monitored.

Turning our eyes to the United States, many states already restarted their gaming industry. The latest reports show some 25 states that have already opened their gaming venues for visitors. More states are also planning to reopen for visitors in the upcoming weeks. Overall the gaming industry around the globe will need more than a few months to recover from the COVID-19 impact. Keeping in mind the shutdown applied worldwide, most governments have already felt the need for fresh funds which can come from gambling taxation. One can only hope that once the travelling is resumed to normal, the industry will find a way to quickly recover from the devastating COVID-19 hit.

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