PokerStars, Full Tilt and 888Poker Blacklisted in Latvia
In a note published on Latvia's Lotteries and Gambling Supervision Inspection (IUAUI), the Baltic country announced the launch of its first-ever online gambling blacklist.
Compiled in accordance with the principles of Latvia's Gaming and Lottery Law, the bill that regulates the gambling industry since 2006, the new blacklist now includes some of the world's most renowned poker sites as PokerStars, Full Tilt, 888poker, Unibet and William Hill.
As a result of the blacklist, "Internet providers have now obligation to restrict access to illegal online gambling sites."
According to what the IUAUI published on its website, the insertion of the poker rooms on the blacklist may have some severe consequences for players located in Latvia, as the country's gambling regulator stated that beginning Aug. 2, "payment services and electronic money Law, financial transactions to and from illegal online gambling operators are prohibited."
The decision to create an online blacklist came as the country chose to gain better control over its gambling market and enforce the application of its gambling law.
According to the bill that regulates online gambling in Latvia, companies interested in operating in the 2 million person market need to fulfill requirements such as a paid stock capital (statutory fund) of less than 1,400,000 Euros, and a percentage of foreign members or stockholders in the capital company stock capital that "should not exceed 49 percent" in order to receive a State-issued gambling license.
Although over the years the Latvian government has often discussed the possibility of modifying its gambling legislation in favor of a more liberal approach, the decision to proceed with the creation of a blacklist is seen by many as a potential setback for any future reform.
Latvia's first lockdown on online gambling comes one month after a meeting held in Paris between Latvian officials and Charles Coppolani, President of France's gaming authority ARJEL.
Almost anticipating the creating of the blacklist, right after the meeting Coppolani explained that "although the two systems are not comparable to each other, Latvia shares the same priorities in terms of consumer protection and fight against the illegal supply."
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