As part of its ongoing crackdown on gaming, Latvia’s Finance Ministry has announced that it intends to increase gaming tax by nearly one-third next year.
According to reports in local media, the proposals to hike gambling taxes by 30 percent form part of Latvia’s ongoing tax reform plans. The Finance Ministry is seeking to boost the annual tax on electronic gaming machines from E3,204 to E4,164, while annual levies on gaming tables would rise from E18,000 to E23,400.
The tax hike comes in the wake of Riga City Council’s decision to prohibit all slot halls in the city’s historic district, apart from those situated in four or five-star hotels. That move, which will see 41 gaming venues forced to close their doors, each of which will require the council to prepare separate draft resolutions of closure.
The vote was upheld by a Supreme Court ruling in favour of the council decision to refuse permission for a new venue in the old district of the city. The ban affects seven slots halls owned by Estonian-based Olympic Entertainment Group.
The operator currently owns 54 venues across Latvia, generating GGR of E66.2m and operating profit of E24m in 2016. Reports of the new taxes came the same day that OEG released its Q2 earnings report, which showed gaming revenue in the three months ending 30 June rising just 0.2 percent year-on-year to E4.3m.