The final decision on revoking permits will still have to be taken at the Riga City Council meeting.
After the entry into force of the decision, those gambling establishments, such as casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, and betting establishments, must be closed within five years. The withdrawal of authorizations may be revoked only as a result of proceedings adversely affecting the municipality, if any. Until now, Riga City Council has won such legal proceedings in all instances.
The largest number of permits – 41 – are planned to be canceled for Alfor, followed by Olympic Casino Latvia with 36 permits, Joker LTD with 23 permits, and Admirāļu klubs with 20 permits. A total of 139 permits issued to eight companies for gambling venues are planned to be revoked.
Riga City Council deputy chairwoman and committee deputy Linda Ozola (Code for Riga) said that “this is a historic day for our capital city. With today's vote, we are starting the road to close gambling hall sites throughout the administrative territory of Riga, outside four - and five-star hotels,” Ozola said, while referring to the Ministry of Health study, which estimates that about 80,000 residents are suffering from gambling addiction in Latvia.
'I believe gambling cannot be banned, but it should only be entertainment on special occasions and not a daily habit. This is something we want to promote through our decision,” Ozola said.