Latvia’s gambling industry witnessed a 26% decrease in revenue in the first half of 2021, mainly because of the restrictions imposed for containing Covid 19.
As per the figures released by the Ministry of Finance, the total revenue of the first six months is €7 million, which is about €16 million lower than the revenue forecast for the period.
Signe Birne, chief executive of the Lotteries and Gambling Monitoring Inspectorate, said that the pandemic had had a significant impact on the sector.
“If we look at the six-month results, then in fact, the traditional gambling sites have worked for 16 days in total. This has an impact on overall results. Of course, interactive gambling has not stopped. Unlike last year, when interactive gambling wasn’t offered for about two months, they have worked nonstop this year. It also appears in the results that actually total revenue, which is in the course of six months, is from the interactive gambling.”
Latvia has 17 merchants, with 10 retail gaming halls and casinos and 13 online casinos, which collectively employ more than 2,900 persons.
Arnis Vērzemnieks, spokesman for the Latvian Games Business Association, said:
“The reason is that there simply aren’t enough customers. This trend, with a significant reduction in customers, started already, I would say, before the pandemic, when the Register of Self-Denied Persons was introduced, when the number of customers fell quite rapidly by 20-25%. Then, of course, there was a pandemic, and it should be noted that, from the middle of this year, this register includes those who have alimony debt, which is about 40 thousand people, and it also leaves a great impact.”