Gambling operators in the Latvia market are bracing themselves for a tax hike in the new year.
This week, the Latvian parliament gave the green light to plans to raise a number of gambling taxes in the Baltic state, introducing new measures to the budget for 2020.
The new tax rules will affect a range of gambling revenue sources including slot machines, and several form of table games. They were originally put forward in October and, according to reports, will take effect on January 1, 2020.
There will be a new flat fee for every slot machine in Latvia, raised from €4,164 to €5,172, while any betting company that operates roulette or other table games will be expected to pay an annual fee of €28,080 for each gaming table they run, a rise from the current €23,400 per table.
The land-based casino fees hike will be in addition to a change in the way that revenue from gambling firms is allocated. Currently, the Latvian state claims 75% of this revenue, while the rest goes to the local areas where the land-based facilities are located. Under the new rules, 95% of the tax take will be diverted to the central government, with only 5% going to local regions.
There was some good news for the gambling sector, however. Lawmakers decided not to make any changes to the existing rules for the online gambling market.
But the new rules come at the same time as the Latvian gambling regulator warned people about the risk of illegal online gambling sites. The Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection (IAUI) issued advice on warning signs that a site may not be legal. However, they also admitted that it was virtually impossible to track down those who set up and run such sites.