Active players: 750.000
Regulated gambling products: Sports betting, casino games, horse racing, lottery
Operator types: Licensed & unlicensed online bookmakers and casinos, land-based betting shops & casinos
Designated authority: Gambling Supervisory Inspection of Latvia (IAUI)
Latvia, like all its Baltic neighbors, was part of the Soviet Union up until the last months of its existence. It gained its de facto independence on the 21st of August 1991. Soon after independence, betting gained some serious momentum in the country. In January of 1998 the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of Latvia was founded. However, it took a few more years until the authorities decided it was time to deliver a modern legal framework for all gambling activities.
2006 was the year that the first full-scale gambling law was adopted by the local parliament, when the ‘Gambling and Lotteries Law’ came into effect in January of that year. Nowadays the online betting sector is fully regulated. As for betting sites, Latvia has a few licensed online bookies; like Optibet, Olybet and Betsafe. Nevertheless, punters that are looking for more betting markets and higher odds than the licensees can offer, still prefer major international bookmakers, such as Bet365 and 888sport.
Betting in Latvia - 5 things to know
- The legal gambling age in Latvia is 18
- To obtain a license, applicants outside of the EU must be composed of local stakeholders at a minimum 51%
- Licensed operators are required to operate on a .lv domain
- Online gambling market set a revenue record in 2019 with a 10,5% growth compared to 2018
- Betting winnings under €3000 are not taxed
Best betting sites Latvia
If you’re after a high-quality betting site, Latvia is a very good place to be in. We’ve thoroughly checked the available bookies and selected the ones that offer competitive odds, a wide variety of betting markets and great promotions on a daily basis.
Online Latvia sports betting: The gambling law framework
The original Gambling and Lotteries Law is still in effect today. However, this legislative initiative has undergone plenty of amendments through the years, designed to improve the online gambling environment in Latvia. The first amendment to the current law, that was passed in 2006, was introduced in 2011 and proposed some steps towards blocking offshore operators and fining punters using illegal sites. Eventually, the amendment came into effect in 2013; however, no actual actions were ever taken against international bookies that operate in Latvia.
The new wave of amendments to the Latvia betting laws came in January 2014, when the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of Latvia (IAUI) announced the introduction of a blacklist. Operators without a licence were blocked by all internet service providers in the country. This list is being constantly updated, and financial institutions are also blocking transactions towards and from these operators.
The current licensees are Optibet lv, Olybet lv, Betsafe lv, Pafbet, SynotTip, Dlvbet, Fenikss Casino, Klondaika and 11.lv. In order to obtain a license from IAUI, applicants need to pay a one-time fee of €427,000. To be considered eligible for a license, a betting company needs to be run in proportion of at least 51% by Latvian citizens. The tax for licensed betting operators is 15% on their gross gaming revenue. Another thing that differentiates the Latvian market from other European jurisdictions, is the yearly review of the licenses - as opposed to 5 or 10 years in other markets.
Essential information for Latvian bettors
All winnings under €3000 are not taxed. Keep in mind though, that winnings that exceed that amount are subject to the ‘personal income tax’ of 23%, while winnings over €55,000 are taxed at 31.4%. Still, don’t forget that winnings from bets that are placed on international non-licensed bookmakers are not subject to taxation.
It is worth noting though, that in an effort to crack down on illegal online betting, the authorities have been rumored to impose €350 fines on players who place their bets on unlicensed bookmakers. Nevertheless, no specific incidents have been reported so far. To sum it up, there are no legal consequences for punters that choose to bet on bookies other than the licensed Latvia betting companies.
Bet Latvija: How to deposit at online bookies
One crucial step every time you bet online, is topping-up your account. The quickest methods for your online deposits are e-wallets such as Qiwi, Skrill and Neteller. Also, Beeline is a common mobile top up payment in Latvia.
With recent law amendments stating that players caught betting on unlicensed bookmakers could be fined up to €350 per incident, or have sanctions upon them for trying to conceal their potential winnings; you should better avoid using bank transfer and simply stick to e-wallets.
The future of online betting Latvia
With a total gambling revenue of €307 million in 2019 and a constant double-digit growth over the last years, online betting in Latvia has been on the rise. Despite the presence of a blacklist, international boomakers still remain very appealing to Latvians. Licensing fees on the other hand remain high and ISPs keep blocking access to unlicensed betting sites. That’s why Latvia remains a less attractive market to the majority of big international brands. For the time being, the government is not showing any signs of relaxing its demands for granting licenses to more foreign bookies; so it seems unlikely that things will be changing soon. Therefore, the future of online sports betting in Latvia remains uncertain.
The complete list of Latvia bookmakers
Indeed, punters can enjoy Bet365 Latvia even though this international bookmaker has not received a license from the authorities yet. As a matter of fact, Bet365 Latvija is very popular among local bettors due to its wide array of betting markets and very competitive football odds.
Yes, it does. Olybet Latvia is actually one of the bookmakers that hold a local license issued by IAUI. The other current licensees are: Betsafe Latvia, Optibet, Pafbet, SynotTip, Dlvbet, Fenikss Casino, Klondaika and 11.lv.
Yes, Unibet Latvija is among the popular international betting sites that accept punters from Latvia. More specifically, Unibet Latvia is known for its competitive football odds, the variety of betting markets and the great promotions that it provides players with.
No, unfortunately 22Bet is not accessible from Latvia. It is worth noting though, that it is not on the country’s blacklist. Nevertheless, it doesn’t accept local bettors yet.
When betting at licensed online bookmakers, punters are subject to a 23% tax on all winnings exceeding €3,000. There are no taxes to worry about if you bet on international non-licensed bookmakers available in Latvia.
Yes, you can. Betwinner Latvija is among the international bookmakers that operate in the country and accept local players. It offers a great sign up bonus, 1.000+ pre-match events on 55+ sports daily, 90+ payment methods and a solid 97%+ overall payout.