Tue, Mar 26, 2:08pm by Staff Writer
The City Council of Riga in the eastern European nation of Latvia is going to close down all of its gaming venues, including those downtown and in neighbourhoods.
Riga Mayor, Nils Usakovs has asked the municipality’s Legal Affairs Department and Urban Development Department to prepare a decree that will revoke all gaming venues’ licenses in Riga, except for those given to four- and five-star hotels.
European Gaming is reporting that 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 of 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 premises.
“This is one task we have to accomplish. We made the first step in 2017 when we banned gaming venues in the historical centre of the city,” Mr Usakovs said.
“At the same time, it is clear that the problem is gambling is the worst in the neighbourhoods of Riga. That is why the municipality has to do everything in its power to finally make Riga a city completely free of gambling,” he said.
The City Council’s Security, Public Order and Corruption Prevention Committee last week approved the proposal for the closure of gaming venues.
If the planned decree gains traction then it would result in the revocation of nearly 200 licenses for the privision of gambling services at special halls around the Latvian capital.
Riga’s crackdown on gambling halls kicked off in 2011 when the City Council stopped issuing licenses for the opening of new facilities.
In 2017, officials ordered the closure of 42 gambling venues in the historical centre of the Latvian capital.
Latvia – Riga to ban all gaming except in four or five-star hotels https://t.co/IJfOUuLuKN
— Topgoal Media TV (@Topgoal) March 23, 2019
Commenting on the latest move, Development Committee head Aleksejs Roslikovs has said that the city’s economy should not thrive and depend too strongly on businesses that “ruin the lives of thousands of residents.”
Under Latvia’s gambling law, local governments are entitled to revoke casino, gambling and bingo hall licenses if the operations harm the interest of residents in the given area of the nation as a whole.
The President of the Latvian Association of Hotels and Restaurants, Janis Pinnis, has told local media that the latest action of the Riga City Council were somewhat unexpected and that the closure of gambling halls will certainly have an extremely negative and restrictive impact on business representatives who have invested considerable amounts of money into the establishment of the affected halls.
The House of Representatives in the American state of New Hampshire has approved House Bill 480, which would legalise sports betting in the state.
The bill will be sent to the Senate for further discussion.
The bill was passed in a 269-82 vote, with an amendment to the original proposal.
The House decided that the bill needed work before allowing sports betting in New Hampshire.
They set a limit of 10 retail sportsbook in the state and the establishment of a council for responsible gambling.
They clarified the prohibited events where sports betting would not be allowed with collegiate sports events within the state, high school sports and amateur contests involving minors all being banned.
“We’re not creating a new industry here, we’re just bringing an illicit industry into a legalized industry,” representative Timothy Lang said.
“If the bill passes, they’ll seek town approval to offer sports betting there. That’d be the kind of place you can go to sit and watch a game and place a bet,” Mr Lang said.
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