Rīga plans to shut down almost all gambling houses in city

The Rīga City Council is planning to shut down all gaming venues in the city, in both the downtown and in neighborhoods, the Rīga City Council's Public Relations Department told LETA.

Rīga Mayor Nils Ušakovs (Harmony) has told the municipality's Legal Affairs Department and Urban Development Department to draft a Rīga City Council decree revoking all gaming venues' licenses in Rīga, except those located in four- and five-star hotels.

According to the Law on Gambling, if the operation of gambling on the particular premises creates a substantial impairment to the interests of the State and the residents of the respective administrative area, the city or the local government council is entitled to terminate the permit to establish a casino, a gambling hall, a bingo hall, a betting or a wagering shop and to operate the respective type of gambling on the particular premises, by means of a reasoned decision.

"This is one task that we have to accomplish. We made the first step in 2017 when we banned gaming venues in the historical center of the city. At the same time, it is clear that the problem of gambling is the worst in the neighborhoods of Rīga. That is why the municipality has to do everything in its power to finally make Rīga a city completely free of gambling," said Ušakovs.

The Rīga City Council's Security, Order and Corruption Prevention Committee will review the proposal on Thursday, March 21.

As reported, in 2017 Rīga City Council announced a plan to shut gambling houses in central Rīga within five years; the plan now encompasses closing all but every single gambling house in Rīga.

Particularly in Latvia's regions, but also in Rīga gambling houses are almost always found on the same street with pawnshops and payday lenders. 

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