Gambling halls are still banned during the emergency period, but the Constitutional Court has challenged the ban on online gambling. RIGA, Dec 15 – Sputnik. The Constitutional Court (CC) found restrictions on interactive gambling during the state of emergency not corresponding to Satversme, according to the website of the Constitutional Court.
According to the court, two cases were opened about the rule prohibiting the organization of gambling in connection with the distribution of COVID-19, but the court decided to merge them. The COP considered complaints from Optibet, Alfor, Admiral clubs, Larsson Licensing and Furors.
Article 8 of the Act on Measures to Prevent and Suppress State Threats and Their Consequences in connection with the proliferation of COVID-19, which states that gambling and lotteries, in addition to interactive, numerical, and instant lotteries, are prohibited during an emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The conformity of Article 9 of the Act was also challenged. This article states that for the duration of this law, the Lottery and Gambling Supervision Inspectorate suspends all gambling licenses in physical locations (casinos, gambling halls, bingo) and in an interactive environment and/or through electronic communications services.
The Constitutional Court recognized that the restriction of gambling in gambling halls was justified and in accordance with the Constitution, but the restrictions on interactive gambling contradicted Satversma.
In March this year, the government decided to ban the operation of gambling halls but to make the gambling industry in the list of industries affected by the epidemic coVID-19. The independent member of the Sejm, Aldis Gobzems, argued that Janis Zuzana, a major businessman from the gambling industry and head of Alfor and Admirāļu clubs, one of Latvia’s richest businessmen, was behind the decision.
After the end of the emergency regime in the spring gambling halls returned to work, but at the end of October the New Conservative Party demanded to close them again – in the halls dense curtains, what is happening there is difficult to control, and they can become hotbeds of the spread of COVID-19.
In total, more than 79,000 people live in Latvia with gambling addiction. Men between the ages of thirty and fifty are the most prone to gambling – it is almost ninety percent dependent. Since the beginning of this year, almost 14,000 Latvians have entered the register of people who voluntarily refused to gamble.