Latvia’s gambling industry is booming. The country witnesses a great increase in the gross gambling revenue, the official report shows.

What’s happening with gambling in Latvia, and why it’s important? Let’s find out.

The increase

In the last three months of 2018, the Latvian gambling industry generated a turnover of €67 million. In the first quarter of 2019, the turnover is €77 million. That’s almost a 16% increase!

The revenues are mostly concentrated in land-based gambling, with gaming machines being responsible for the bulk of the profits. They have generated €50 and €56 million, respectively.

Online gambling, however, is leading the way in terms of rapid growth. The industry grew from €9 million to €12 million. That’s over 30% increase!

Overall, you could say the Latvian gambling industry is doing great and doesn’t show it’s going to stop growing ever soon.

Latvian budget grew €10 million larger because of that.

A new industry

Why are these numbers so fascinating? After all, the South African gambling industry generates billions.

The thing is Latvia only legalized all forms of gambling in March 2017. Before that, online gambling was illegal in the country, and you could only play at land-based casinos.

In 2017, however, the country did the right thing for its citizens and allowed online gambling. Since then, they have issued a total of 9 licenses. The companies’ aggregate turnover is over €12 million in the first quarter of 2019.

But that didn’t come easy.

The war on illegal gambling

Most countries are afraid of making online gambling legal because they can’t follow the Internet. The Dutch authorities have previously said that fining illegal players on the gambling market just doesn’t work.

The government hands out dozens of fines for operating a casino on a market where it’s illegal, but the casinos just don’t pay them. This is why the Dutch want to legalize online gambling.

Latvia proves it’s a great solution. Any company can apply for a license, and the government has issued 7 new licenses in the first quarter of the year. Those websites that don’t want to get a license, or failed to get one operate illegally.

This is why Latvia is blocking gambling websites that target the country en masse. In the last quarter of 2018, they have blocked a total of 1156 domains. This year, the number was as low as 41.

The war on illegal gambling works when there are legal options. Illegal websites are forced to get licensed or stop operation. Now, this may seem like a bad thing, but many websites are rogue casinos, so getting them out of business is the best choice.

An example to follow

Latvia is a great model for South Africa to follow. It shows that the fears legislators have about legalizing online gambling are just not relevant. Nothing bad is going to happen if South Africa legalizes this form of gambling, only the good.

If our legislators see more examples like this, the odds are, you can soon play Casino Cruise legally.