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Baltics might have joint list of persons banned from gambling

Policy makers are currently in process of developing guidelines for 2021-2027 to reduce risks related to gambling and lotteries, Latvian Radio reported March 20.

In Latvia, approximately 70 000 or 6% of the population have gambling problems, according to a study by Health Ministry (VM).

As of January 2020, the "Self-denied persons register" has been established in Latvia. The Register has received 14,620 applications from people wanting to break the gambling habit. The voluntary scheme blocks their access to gaming halls and casinos both in the real world and online, helping people with compulsive or addictive behavior to avoid repeating earlier mistakes.

Signe Birne, Head of the Lotteries and Gambling Supervision Inspectorate, said that there are also around 2 to 5 requests each day to annul the application. That can only be done after 12 months have passed, said Birne.

To improve policies around gambling in the future, it is currently being debated that the Baltic States might introduce a joint register of banned persons, or another means of exchanging information, since it is not too difficult to go to a different state and participate in gambling, said Finance Ministry spokeswoman Olga Bogdanova.

"Talks have already begun with neighboring countries about developing a joint register," Bogdanova said.

The guidelines for 2021-2027 currently include 47 measures to reduce risks associated with gambling and lotteries. It is planned that the age for gambling might be raised to 21 and that there would be no more 24/7 gambling halls. 

It has also been decided by the responsible Saeima committee that as of May 1, 2021, persons with alimony debt would not be permitted to gamble

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