Latvian Online Gambling Law Review

Sunday July 31,2011  : Hefty general licence entry fees and stringent requirements for new operators
The Latvian Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance is in the process of reviewing existing land and online gambling laws according to
Home to some impressive online gambling software companies, the pastime has been legal since 2003, with a 10 percent interactive betting tax that has not discouraged some 160 operational sites from springing up.
Key amendments to the legalization that affect online gambling include:
–  A general Gambling license to operate interactive (online) games.
   Licence requirements and costs include: LVL 1 million (GBP 1 234 400) shareholders capital, share of non-EU equity holders can not exceed 49 percent, impeccable reputation, general license entry fee of LVL 300 000 (GBP 370 321) with an annual renewal fee of LVL 25 000 (GBP 30 860)
–  ISP ban of unlicensed operators’ websites
–  Payments ban to unlicensed operators bank accounts
–  5 percent gambling tax on gross gaming revenue
–  Licensed operators will be permitted to advertise during Olympic games and related events (media and at the venues) provided they are official sponsors of the Latvian Olympic Committee and/or certain sport federations
–  Age restriction: Players must be at least 21
Existing licensees, such as the Olympic Entertainment Group (OEG), would find themselves in a strong position should the proposals be adopted as they would be unaffected by the hefty licence entry fee.