Latvia’s self-exclusion scheme is now up and running, with citizens able to prohibit themselves from gambling for 12 months.
The register, which is the responsibility of the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Authority (IAUI), was established under the Gambling and Lotteries Law and went live on 1 January.
The self-exclusion can include both interactive and land-based gambling. Latvians can submit a request in writing to the regulator, or in person or in writing at the gaming site.
The IAUI said in a statement: “The purpose of the register of self-denied persons is to protect the public interest and the right of natural persons to refrain from excessive gambling activities, including interactive gambling, or participation in interactive lotteries. The exclusion applies to participation in all statutory gambling and interactive lotteries.”
The initiative is one of a number of measures the IAUI has launched in an effort to clamp down on problem gambling in the country.
In November the body said that 127 people had accessed new, state-funded psychologist support for consumers affected by gambling-related problems during its first four months.
In the same month, Latvia’s parliament approved proposals to raise certain land-based gaming taxes in the country, including the measures in the 2020 budget.
Slot machines, roulettes, cards and dice games will all be impacted by the new laws, which were proposed in October and will come into effect from 1 January 2020.
The flat fee levied on each slot machine in operation in Latvia will increase from €4,164 (£3,566/$4,602) to €5,172. In addition, operators of roulette and table games will have to pay an annual fee of €28,080 per gaming table they operate, up from the current fee of €23,400.
Parliament also signed off on plans to for more gambling taxes and fees to be allocated to the country's national budget. At present, the state receives 75% of these funds, with the other 25% being sent out to municipalities where gambling venues are located.
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