Riga Mayor plans to shut down gambling venues

Riga Mayor plans to shut down gambling venues

Rīga Mayor Nils Ušakovs wants to shut down gambling venues. Credits: mundo.sputniknews.com

The Latvian official asked for a decree that would revoke all gaming licences in the city.

Latvia.- Rīga Mayor Nils Ušakovs has asked the municipality’s Legal Affairs Department and Urban Development Department to come up with a Riga City Council decree. The legal piece would revoke all gaming licences in Riga except the ones located in four and five-star hotels.

Current regulations establish that if gambling operations on the particular locations create a substantial impairment to the interests of the State and its residents, the city or local government council can terminate the casino permit, a gambling hall, a bingo hall or a betting shop, LSM.LV informed.

“This is one task that we have to accomplish. We made the first step in 2017 when we banned gaming venues in the historical centre of the city. At the same time, it is clear that the problem of gambling is the worst in the neighbourhoods of Rīga. That is why the municipality has to do everything in its power to finally make Rīga a city completely free of gambling,” said Ušakovs.

The City Council’s Security, Order and Corruption Prevention Committee will review the proposal today. This move comes after the council decided in May 2017 to close 42 gambling halls. Back then, their respective operators turned to court to appeal the decision and keep their operations running.

The Latvian city intended to close all gambling locations within five years, and while this new plan seems extreme, allowing some hotels to keep their operations seem like conversation is still on the table.

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