Latvian Gaming Laws
Casino gambling, online gambling and lotteries are all legal in Latvia. For a country as small as Latvia is, it houses an impressive number of casinos. Some of these Latvian casinos are businesses with a few slot machines, while others offer both slots and the most popular table games in the world. A surprising number of casinos in Latvia offer Texas Holdem tables, and one or two even offer games of Omaha.
Casinos in Latvia
About two-thirds of the gambling houses in Latvia are found in the capital city of Riga. Most Latvian casinos include only slot machines and appeal to tourists and visitors looking to fill a couple of hours.
Latvian Casinos List
- Bumerangs – Bauska – 28 gaming machines, including 3 Amusement With Prizes machines, also known as AWP or AWPs.
- Bumerangs Jatnieku – Daugavpils – 27 slot machines and 1 AWP.
- Bumerangs Novembra – Daugavpils – 25 slot machines.
- Bumerangs Stacijas – Daugavpils – 35 gaming machines (4 AWP).
- Olympic Casino Novembra – Daugavpils – 25 gaming machines.
- Olympic Casino Stacijas – Daugavpils – 28 gaming machines.
- Bumerangs – Jelgava – 48 gaming machines, including 5 AWP.
- Casino Klondike in Club Tonus – Jelgava – 22 machine games and 3 casino table games.
- Olympic Casino – Driksas – 36 slot machines at present.
- Bumerangs – Jurmala – 24 gaming machines.
- Hotel Jurmala Spa & Olympic Casino – Jurmala – This Olympic Casino is found at a spa, and has 30 slot machines.
- Bumerangs – Kraslava – 26 machines.
- Bumerangs – Kuldiga – 20 slot machines.
- Bumerangs – Liepaja – 20 gaming machines.
- Bumerangs – Saldus – 22 gaming machines, including 2 AWP or Amusement With Prizes machines.
- Bumerangs – Smiltene – 26 machines and 3 AWP machines.
- Bumerangs – Valmiera – 39 total machines, including 5 Amusement with Prizes machines. Also includes a sports book.
- Olympic Casino Kuldigas – Ventspils – 40 gaming machines. Call +371 286 40329 for information on Olympic Casino in Kuldigas.
- Olympic Casino Talsus – Ventspils – 40 slot machines. Learn more about Olympic Casino on Talsu Street at +371 366 3119.
Casinos in Riga
There are 32 casinos in Riga alone. I included a separate list of casinos in Riga, so readers would find them easily. Once again, many of these casinos simply have slot machines, though a larger percentage of Riga casinos offer table games, including many different variations of poker.
Below are the thirty-two casinos currently found in Riga.
- Admiralu Klub Riga – 10 slot machines and 12 table games, including Blackjack, Roulette, Omaha Hold ‘Em and Texas Holdem. Call +371 728 6925 to contact Admiralu Klub, or visit their website at http://www.admiraluklubs.lv/.
- Bumerangs Caka – 29 game machines, including one AWP.
- Bumerangs Central Railway Station – 45 gaming machines in all.
- Bumerangs Dziravu – 23 gaming machines, including 1 Amusement with Prize.
- Bumerangs Matisa – 22 gaming machines only.
- Casino 777 Aspaziyas – 12 table games, including blackjack, roulette and poker. Call Casino 777 at +371 722 9915 to ask about the poker games.
- Casino 777 Elizabetes – 10 casino tables, including tables for blackjack, roulette and poker. There is also a bar at Elizabetes Casino 777. The phone number is +371 721 7478.
- Casino 777 Grecinieku – 18 table games, including Blackjack and Roulette, as well as nine tables specifically for poker games. Call Grecinieku Casino 777 at +371 722 5308.
- Casino Aladins – 8 table games, which feature roulette and blackjack.
- Casino Karo – 5 gaming tables in all.
- Casino Klondaika – Blaumana – The Casino Klondaika offers games of draw poker, Oasis Poker, Oasis Stud Poker, roulette, blackjack, poker, Russian poker and Texas Hold Em. The general information phone number at the Casino Klondike is +371 724 2139.
- Casino Play and Boy – 17 table games, including 4 blackjack, 3 roulette and 10 poker tables.
- Casino Plaza – 3 gaming and poker tables.
- Casino Renaissance – 8 gaming and poker tables.
- Chicago Casino – 10 poker tables and 2 roulette tables.
- City Casino – 60 gaming machines and 10 casino game tables. For more information, go the City Casino web address at http://www.citycasino.ee/.
- Europa Club Casino – The contact information for Europe Club & Casino is +371 750 2840.
- Olympic Casino – K. Barona – 30 gaming machines.
- Olympic Casino – A. Saharova – 30 gaming machines.
- Olympic Casino – Brivibas – 45 slot machines.
- Olympic Casino Brivibas 90 – 20 slot machines.
- Olympic Casino Domina – 68 game machines.
- Olympic Casino Dzelzavas – 45 machines.
- Olympis Casino Dziravu – 20 gaming machines.
- Olympic Casino Maza Nometnu – 30 machines.
- Olympic Casino Zolitudes – 20 slot machines.
- Olympic Casino Radisson – 40 machines and 14 gaming tables, including 3 card poker, blackjack, American roulette, Draw Poker, five card stud and Texas Hold ‘Em. Call +371 678 28777 for information.
- Olympic City Casino Barona – 32 gaming machines.
- Olympic City Casino Marijas – 34 slots.
- Olympic Voodoo Casino – 115 gaming machines and 25 game tables, including blackjack, roulette, American roulette and six card poker.
- Tobago Casino Club – 13 casino gaming tables, featuring blackjack and roulette.
- Vegas Casino Complex – 135 slots and video poker machines and 18 casino game tables. Call Vegas Casino at +371 709 2437.
Lottery in Latvia
The National Lottery of Latvia is controlled by Latvijas Lotto, whose website can be found at http://www.latlotto.lv/.
Latvijas Lotto has been around since 1972, well back into the days that Latvia was part of the Soviet Union. From 1972 to 1993, though, Latvijas Loto was only a part of Sojuzsportloto, and helped organize smaller lotteries like the Sportloto and the Sprints instant lotteries. In 1993, Latvijas Lotto held the first truly national Latvian National Lottery.
The Latvian Loto was actually handled manually until 1996, when EssNet won a contract to help streamline the Latvijas Lotto games. EssNet is based out of Stockholm, Sweden, and it administers lotteries in countries throughout Europe, Australia, South American and even one or two nations in the Middle East.
One source claims that a second Latvian lottery exists, one by the name of Admiralus Klubs. This would presumably be linked to the prominent Admiralu Klub in Riga, though I haven’t found a second source for this assertion.
Internet Gambling in Latvia
Online gambling is legal in Latvia. Gambling websites licensed to take Latvian customers must pay a 10% interactive gambling tax on all revenues. This law was approved in 2003.
Latvia Gambling Laws
Saeima (the Latvian Parliament) considered changing the gambling laws of Latvia in 2003 to make it more restricted. According to government sources, Latvia had seen a stark rise in gambling machine halls from 2002 to 2003, when the reported number went up from 218 to 441. Most of these operations must have been quite small, given that they are not recorded in any official reports.
The Saeima considered raising the tax on slot machines, making them unprofitable for many vendors. Also, the new law would have made it illegal to place slot machines in markets, shops, airports and other mass transit stations, like bus stations and railway stations. This would account for those hundreds of unreported venues.
Also, the law would have raised the maximum number of slot machines a business must have, to decrease the number of gambling operations in Latvia. This would put out the mom-and-pop gaming halls and bingo halls, leaving only the large casinos in business.
This laws may well have passed, which might explain why the number of casino operators are now around 50 instead of 400. Either way, the Latvian Parliament’s deliberations show that many Latvians have ambivalent attitudes about the size of the gambling industry in Latvia.
Latvia is one of the Baltic Republics, along with Lithuania and Estonia. These tiny states along the eastern Baltic coast have long been under the influence of larger powers, most notably Russia. Latvia gained a measure of independence between World War I and World War II, but was annexed into the Soviet Union by Stalin in 1940.
Latvia gained independence from Russia in 1991, the same year it joined the United Nations. Russia removed its last occupying troops in 1994, though the 30% Russian minority in Latvia remains a source of tension. Concerns about discrimination against ethnic Russians have created occasional tensions between Latvia and Russia.
Latvia has since joined the World Trade Organization, though its major ambitions were realized when Latvia joined both NATO and the European Union in 2004. Latvians hope that EU membership will help the Latvian economy, while the NATO alliance is meant to provide protection from Russian dominance of the Baltic States.