As stated in the latest news in the casino sector in Latvia, the gambling market in the country was heavily affected by the COVID-19 restrictions during the first six months of 2021. The Ministry of Finance reports that it has received €7 million in gambling tax revenue in H1 2021, which is 26% lower than tax income in the corresponding period in 2020.
In the first half of 2020 the Latvian gambling authorities collected €15 million in taxes, and in 2019 casino operators paid €20 million to the state budget. This data shows that the gambling market in Latvia continues to decline.
The total net casino revenue, collected from January to June 2021, was €51.9m, which is also circa 26% less than NGR in H1 2020. The bigger part of gatherings came from the online sector, while land-based casinos haven’t generated much income.
Experts point out reasons for the fall in GGR
The Head of Latvian Gambling Authority, Signe Birne, claims that the main reason for this drastic fall in NGR is low performance in the offline casino vertical. Birne states that in H1 2021 land-based venues worked only for 16 days in H1 2021, opening on June 14. At the same time, offline casinos were closed only for 80 days in total in the corresponding period in 2020.
Janis Tregers, a member of the Latvian Interactive Gambling Association, shares Birne’s opinion and adds that not all of the customers of brick-and-mortar casinos shifted to online gambling sites. The expert also adds that only 63 gaming halls out of 279 reopened in the first half of 2021.
The other major factor is the decline in casino players, which became extremely prominent after the introduction of the player self-exclusion register in the country.
The online sector, however, has shown great results this year. The interactive gambling sector has grown by 5% in the first half of 2021.
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