Republic of Latvia Adds 20 Illegal Gaming Sites to Its Blacklist
The Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of the Republic of Latvia (IAUI) added 20 more gaming sites to its blacklist. The IAUI blocked access to all twenty illegal gambling sites.
The IAUI updated the list of banned sites on its official website, bringing the total number of blacklisted sites to 1548.
The twenty banned sites, who operate mainly from European countries, will have their IP addresses blocked by Latvian ISPs. They likely will move their operations to new proxy servers and the cat-and-moose game will continue.
The official lottery operator in the Republic of Latvia is LatLotto, but the Baltic country allows 14 license holders to sign up Latvian players. Those Latvian license holders include Admiral Klubs, Casino Olympic, Joker Ltd., OptiBet, Gamex, Storm Latvia, LVBet, viensviens.lv, Niks, NB, Furors, DLV, Aladins (Bliks), and Fenikss (Alfor).
Latvian Gambling after the Soviet Union
The Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of the Republic of Latvia is a substantial and longstanding gaming regulator with over 20 years of experience in the industry. It was created in 1998 to get unregulated lottery games under control. When the Republic of Latvia achieved independence from the Soviet Union on August 21, 1991, the first games of chance in the new system were organized almost immediately.
Within a couple of years, a proliferation of games of chance existed in Latvia. Lottery betting and sports wagering were the most popular games of chance, but they were unregulated, which brought the state of gaming in the country into disrepute.
How the Lottery & Gambling Supervisor Was Created
The Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of the Republic of Latvia or IAUI was established in 1998 to regulate the gaming industry. By that time, the Internet was gaining mainstream attention in the country, while the Latvian illegal online gambling industry had become substantial.
The strategy behind the Latvian gambling regulator was simple: by licensing legitimate gaming operators, the legal choices would undermine the unregulated lotteries and other forms of gambling.
Over the next 10 to 15 years, Latvia became a hub of legal gambling activity. Gaming software developers like Playtech and Microgaming based call centers and live casino studios in Riga, Latvia. Software design houses located there.
Latvia’s Gambling Statistics
Latvia has a substantial gambling industry, despite its relatively small population. Latvia’s gaming sector generated €240 million in gross gaming revenues in 2016. €180 million or 75% of the revenue came from slot machines.
Among the legal gambling operators, Latvia has 6 land-based casinos, 57 betting shops, 317 gambling halls (poker clubs), and roughly 8,900 slot machines in the country.
IAUI Blacklist of Illegal Gaming Sites
Along with the legal gaming companies which based operations in the country, a bevy of unlicensed gaming sites began to target Latvian online bettors. The IAUI began to police online and mobile gaming, once again to keep the industry from falling into disrepute.
In the intervening years, Latvia has therefore given sanctuary to international online gaming operators like Playtech, Microgaming, and other legit companies. At the same time, the IAUI has built a huge list of banned websites. Last week’s action is just the latest example of IAUI’s policing.
The latest group of banned gambling sites can be seen below. Latvian players will not be able to see them online — at least without a VPN.
The latest action by the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of the Republic of Latvia does not affect the legitimate, licensed gaming-related companies which do business in Riga. Companies like Playtech and Microgaming will continue to operate live dealer casino studios in Riga, employing hundreds of Latvian nationals.