The Riga City Council last night made the decision to annul 139 gambling permits.
Alfor company will have the largest number of permits cancelled – 41 in 25 gambling halls, followed by Olympic Casino Latvia with 36 permits in 19 gambling halls, Joker LTD with 23 permits in 12 gambling halls and Admiralu Klubs with 20 permits in 11 gambling halls. In total, 139 gambling permits issued to eight companies in more than 80 gambling halls have been annulled.
According to the municipality, in order to close gambling halls in the rest of the city, the Riga City Council envisaged such a possibility in the new spatial plan adopted in 2021. The spatial plan was temporarily suspended by the Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry, thus delaying the closure of gambling venues. However, this decision was later reversed and the Riga City Council is now deciding on the cancellation of permits for gambling venues also outside the city center.
The municipality says that this will protect the public from the negative effects of gambling.
The law stipulates that after the decision comes into force, these gambling venues – casinos, gaming halls, bingo halls, betting shops or betting shops – must be closed within five years. The cancellation of the permits can only be reversed as a result of legal proceedings against the municipality.
So far, the City Council has won all such proceedings.
The municipality noted that five years ago the Riga City Council decided to close 42 gambling halls in the capital, which were located in the historic center and its protection zone, as well as in a mixed development area.
An exception was made for four- and five-star hotels. The gambling hall operators took the municipality to court. However, the Constitutional Court later ruled that the City Council’s restrictions on the establishment of gambling halls in the historic center of Riga were compatible with the Constitution.
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