The revenue from gambling tax received by the state budget grows from 75% to 95%

Latvian Parliament approves higher gambling fees, new proportion for national budget

During the review of the legislative draft on 13 November, Latvian deputies argued over the fight against gambling.
2019-11-21
Reading time 1:48 min
Amendments will come into force from January 1 2020 and primarily affect land-based operators. Annual gambling fees for roulette games, card and dice games will be increased from EUR 23,400 to EUR 28,080 a year. As for gambling machines, it will grow from EUR 4,164 to EUR 5,172.

Latvia’s Parliament (Saeima) approved last week amendments in the final reading to the Law on Lotteries and Gambling Fee and Tax. Amendments, which will come into force from January 1 2020, include higher annual fees for land-based operators, and new proportion for the division of the tax between the state and municipal budgets.

During the review of the legislative draft on 13 November, deputies argued over the fight against gambling. Opposition members criticized the New Conservative Party for its failure to move from word to action in this area, according to Baltic News Network.

Approved amendments to the law state that starting with 2020, annual gambling fees for roulette games, card and dice games will be increased from EUR 23,400 to EUR 28,080 a year. The fee will also be increased for gambling machines, from EUR 4,164 to EUR 5,172 per calendar year.

According to Finance Ministry, amendments to the law, which are added to the state budget for 2020, were developed to divert the tax burden from labour force to consumption and capital, as well as increase revenue for the state budget to help cover certain state expenditures. The new changes will primarily affect land-based operators, with online operators and affiliates due to be exempt from the ruling.

Until now the law stated that the state budget received 75% from gambling tax revenue and 25% went to budgets of municipalities in which gambling is organized. In the first reading, it was initially suggested increasing the state budget’s portion of revenue to 90%, reducing the portion that would go to municipal budgets.

In search of funding to increase wages for doctors, the coalition reached an agreement to increase the state budget’s portion from the tax even more. This means the state budget will receive 95% of revenue from the gambling tax, whereas municipalities will receive 5%.

The changes come as the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection (IAUI) – which oversees gambling regulation in Latvia – warned customers about online risks, mainly related to fake lotteries and fraud. As part of this, the authority emphasised the importance in conducting extensive operator research before wagering.

According to the IAUI, consumers an look for various red flags to separate websites are real and those that aren’t. This is an area that Latvian affiliates, especially comparison sites, can provide assistance in.

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