Storm International Not Impacted By Changes In Latvian Gambling Legislation

storm international not impacted by latvian gambling legislation

Latvia is an EU member, where gaming establishments of various levels work legally. Along with serious gambling complexes, in which work is carried out legally, there are several hundred slot halls, which activity is dubious. Civic activists launched changes to make the country better for their citizens, as well as to remove areas that pose a danger. 

The authors of the initiative suggested leaving only a few casinos in the most expensive hotels. Since the Storm International unit, Darren Keane, the CEO of the company noted is located in Kempinski, it is included in casino’s category that are not touched by activists. They asked the state to eliminate slot rooms and other establishments that cause irreparable damage to people's health, ruin families, while arguments about budget revenues from gambling are untenable. 

There are 14 licensed companies in the gambling market in Latvia. At the beginning of 2023, there were 315 gambling halls and five casinos in the country. There is serious competition among companies working in this business, and the rules in the field of licensing gaming halls and casinos are constantly being tightened in 2023. 

Gambling business is regulated quite strictly in Latvia, everything is done in order to protect both society and a specific person who may have some problems. There will always be people who want to play and want to somehow have fun - maybe someone just has enough money for such vacation, so there will always be someone who can offer such service. Best of all, when it is all controlled and regulated by the state. 

On the one hand, although there are few casinos, there are many gambling halls. On the other hand, if the entire gambling business is banned, the opposite effect will occur: this sphere will go underground, crime will increase, the state will lose a huge amount of taxes. Therefore, in 2019, officials were busy looking for a reasonable compromise. 

The first with restrictions faced Riga. As a result, it was decided to legally rid the historical center of the slot halls. At the same time, VIP casinos operating under a license and strictly complying with laws can continue to work in historical quarters. SL Casino Riga, owned by Storm International, Darren Keane said, is located just in the Old Town in the historic Kempinski Hotel building. It is a transparent work example and is aimed at a respectable public. 

But gambling halls can no longer be close to schools, government agencies and healthcare institutions. They also cannot have one entrance with supermarkets. 

As the representative of the Ministry of Finance of Latvia said, the legal gambling business really brings a considerable income to the country's budget. Only in 2018, tax revenues from gambling establishments exceeded the plan, amounting to several tens of millions of euros. 

It was planned that in 2018 revenues from gambling to the state budget will amount to 30.6 million euros. However, this plan was overfulfilled, and a total of 32 million euros was credited to the budget. This means that the plan was exceeded by 4.5%. A significant part of these deductions was received from Storm International, as the company operates one of the few VIP casinos in the country. 

Activists, together with representatives of the Riga and Latvia leadership, are doing everything possible to make the capital an interesting, but safe place. The new laws caused a wave of protests from the slot halls owners, they defended the right to finalize in the courts until their licenses expiration. However, obtaining new licenses will be much more difficult. And in some country areas and especially in the capital is generally impossible. Casino changes in Latvia are less affected, and in general they can be described by the requirement to raise the service level and comply with the responsible game policy in 2022 and 2023.

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