Best Online Casinos in Latvia
Surprisingly, Latvia is one of the most advantageous European states in terms of gambling. Despite the fact that gambling as such became possible in this country only in 1991 after the Soviet Union was ruined, the government quickly picked its pace and reformed numerous market segments, including gambling.
Moreover, besides totally safe and legitimate offline gambling, locals are allowed to make bets and play casino games online! To be honest, this is an unexpected agility in lawmaking for a country where gambling was under strict prohibition for 45 years. But yeah, there are licensed online casinos accepting Latvians, and the government regulates them and controls them for safety and decent performance.
This leads us to the situation where fans of online casino games and sports betting are free to choose their entertainment without being worried about their safety, or about breaking any laws. However, please keep in mind that it is still necessary to explore and assess every new online casino Latvia you find, in order to make sure this or that site is worthy of your attention (let alone your money!).
Meanwhile, we have already done all the work for you, and have created a list of the best online casinos LV. Check out bonuses you can grab, make bets, and win real cash!
List of Online Casinos for players from Latvia
History of Gambling in Latvia
It is hard to assess history of Latvia gambling before occupation of the Russian Empire that later turned into USSR. In the Medieval times, people in the country were pretty religious, so we can suggest that gambling was not really popular, let alone allowed.
However, when the country became part of the Soviet Union, no gambling was allowed at all. latvia started to revive and develop its economy properly only after it regained independence in 1991. Gambling, surprisingly, became one of the segments that was paid attention to - in contrast to many other European states, even though many of them had a more beneficial start (if can say so) than Lat. However, if you’d like to learn more about Estonia online gambling, or you want to find best online casino Finland, you can do so easily.
Already in the summer of 1991, the first brick and mortar casino opened in Latvia, and afterwards, dozens of private lotteries and betting venues arrived. The development of the Internet accelerated the development of this market.
Latvian government, however, decided not to slow this development down, but rather to ride it, and allow punting bring taxes to the public purse - under the condition of the niche being properly regulated. Already in 1998, much earlier than many, many other EU states, the government appointed a regulating body - The Lotteries and Gambling Supervision Inspection - and it introduced its first legal act.
In 2003, the change continued to take place, and the laws became more severe. The state started issuing licenses, collect taxes on slot machines, etc. In 2006, an official Gambling and Lotteries Law was issued. It established clear, comprehensive, and concise rules on punting, casino games, and other types of betting. Even online punting was to be regulated under this law. All this makes Latvia one of the most caring countries that really make punting easier for its punters.
Current Situation on Gambling in Latvia
In Latvia, all types of gambling are legally allowed. There are numerous brick and mortar casinos all around the country, and the regulating bodies take careful control over the operations in this niche. So, offline gaming in this state is totally available and safe; the only condition is players be not younger than 21 years old.
The main pitfall about online casinos, however, is that the government only allows Latvians access to sites licensed by the state.
The good news is that the local operators do not really try and surpass such monsters like Microgaming, NetEnt, and other globally famous software providers, and do not try to entice local casino fans with their ridiculous gaming products. Few are able to do so. Instead, punters of Latvia can play at licensed web casinos that feature big and famous software developers.
The bad news is that all online casinos that do not hold local license are illegal, and one is not allowed to gamble there. In order for this rule to be followed thoroughly by some passionate local punters, the state has regulations that ensure legal punting.
Since 2019, local banks are not allowed to process transactions to and from unlicensed online casinos operated from abroad. Moreover, the banks and also Internet service providers are enforced to forward personal information of the customers trying to access unlicensed online casinos, to the state agencies. All gamblers caught trying to make a deposit or withdrawal from offshore online casino that has no Latvian license will face €350 fine.
In case a gambler manages to dance around the rules, wins real money at an unlicensed offshore platform, and is caught, they are also likely to face further charges on not paying taxes on their winnings at a casino.
To cut the long story short, both offline and online betting is allowed in Latvia, but only with locally licensed operators. Those bettors who violates the laws are to pay the fines.
Laws for Gambling in Latvia
If you would like to learn more about your rights and obligations as a Latvia citizen, or a tourist, wanting to make some bets and win some real money at games of chance of games of skill, you’d better read the actual laws.
There are generally three main laws on gaming in the state. They are:
- the Gambling and Lotteries Law
- the Law on Lotteries and Gambling Tax and Fee
- the Law On Lotteries of Goods and Services
You already know the majority of conditions under which punting is allowed or prohibited in Latvia. In addition, please keep in mind that even if you manage to reach out to an offshore online casino, the Internet providers are obliged by the state to block sites that are not whitelisted by the government.
This means that, even if you are a tourist travelling around the country, you have an account on this or that platform, and you want to reach out to the platform you actually gamble at (maybe even for ages) - you have to be ready to face limitations and even fines. Moreover, the site is likely to be blocked (if it is not blocked yet), and you may even lose your actual account in that casino.
Sp, local residents should be really, really careful with online punting due to strict laws, and always check if the site has Latvia license. Tourists, on the other hand, may not face the fines (although we are not sure whether this law does not apply to tourists), but they are likely to have trouble. Therefore, leave your favourite casinos alone and make bets at local sites, or go to a brick and mortar facility.
Regulatory Authorities in Latvia
There is one main regulatory authority in the country that makes sure the market works properly, and this is Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection. It controls lotteries, offline and online casino games, and sports betting. It started its activity in 1998, on the 1st of January.
There are several departments in the Inspection, but overall, here are the main functions of this authority:
- make sure all operators and also customers comply with the existing rules and laws when it comes to lotteries and punting on the lands of the Republic of Latvia
- make sure all lotteries and other forms of betting are organized in a proper way that prevents fraud
- make sure all participants comply with the legislation
- supervise casino encashment processes
- prevent violation of the laws
- provide reports, analysis, statistics, research, and development of the niche
The Inspection, as it becomes clear, collaborates closely with Internet providers and local banks (despite the fact that these have very indirect bearing to gambling) to provide compliance with the laws.
Taxation Laws on Gambling in Latvia
Taxation laws are no less clear and concise in the punting industry. Talking about operators, they pay up to 40% of their income to the government as tax. The tax is then divided between the state and local governments in the proportions of 75% and 25% respectively. This allows to improve both local and state economics, and provide financing to necessary sectors.
Talking about customers, all punters, whether they prefer offline casinos or web sites, have to pay taxes on their winnings as part of their income tax. The percent comprises from 10% to 23% depending on the type of venue, sum of winnings, and also other aspects that generally define the % of the income tax.
Land Based Casinos in Latvia
There are so many brick and mortar casinos in Latvia that there is no need to travel around the country to enjoy some betting. You are very likely to find a facility in your own city or town. However, we will review three of the most popular casinos based in Riga, the capital of Latvia.
Olympic is one of the major casino brands in Latvia, it is licensed and certified, and has a number of venues in many cities. Talking about Voodoo facility in Riga, it was opened in 2006, has 16 table games, 3 poker tables, and 95 slot machines.
The majority of venues by Olympic operate under same conditions, so don’t be surprised to see the same contact info. Domina gaming house was opened in 2004. It has only slot machines, which are 50+.
This is a new facility that opened only in 2017. It has 10 table games and 50+ slot machines.
Banking Options for Gambling in Latvia
Since all casinos Latvians have access to are licensed, the banks are okay to processing transactions to and from these sites. So, locals and guests are free to use their plastic cards:
If you’d like to use online payment systems or e-wallets, check out the following:
Please make sure you know what Terms and Conditions apply in each case. Some e-wallets can be generally available to Latvians, but transactions to online casinos via these methods may be limited. If you are interested in cryptocurrencies, check out online Bitcoin casino.
Popular Cities in Latvia for Gambling
Check out Latvia cities with the biggest number of brick and mortar casinos:
- Daugavpils - 12
- Riga - 39
- Jelgava - 6
- Liepaja - 6
- Rēzekne - 4
- Jurmala - 4
- Cēsis - 4
The number of cities that have 1-2 casinos is way more impressive.
Facts About Latvia
In case you would like to know more about Latvia, here are some quick facts:
- local Internet is one of the fastest globally
- there are 12 000 rivers in the country
- many female top models are actually Latvian
- its flag is one of the oldest in the world
- denim jeans were invented here
- Latvians love beer