Latvia bans online gambling during Covid-19 lockdown

6 April 2020

Online gambling has been banned in Latvia with immediate effect, after clarification was issued on the country’s emergency coronavirus (Covid-19) bill.

The bill - signed by the country’s president, Egils Levits, on 22 March - initially left the status of online gambling unclear. It called for a prohibition on gambling and lotteries “except for interactive gambling, numerical lotteries and instant lotteries".

However, in the next article of the bill, it then says that the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Authority “shall suspend all gambling licenses for physical gambling venues [...] interactive media and/or via electronic communication services".

Janis Ungurs, director of the legal department of the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Authority, told iGB today that “all online gambling sites are obliged to stop operations” as of today (6 April) and that “all legal obligations with players/customers must be carried out”.

Under the Coronavirus bill, the ban will be in effect until 14 April, but Ungurs added that it was extremely likely it will be extended, possibly for as long as three months.

On 13 March, the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Authority announced that it will not receive visitors in person from 13 March this year until 14 April 2020.