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After complaints from gaming enterprises, the Latvian Constitutional Court has declared Rīga's citywide gambling ban unconstitutional. The court underscored the need for towns to follow legislative standards when imposing gambling limitations, noting the municipality's failure to provide justification for the prohibition and carry out appropriate assessments prior to enforcing restrictions.


Latvia's Gambling Ban Is Declared Unconstitutional by a Latvian Court

In a recent ruling on April 4, the Latvian Constitutional Court declared that it was unconstitutional to forbid gambling in any part of the nation's capital, Rīga.  The court heard arguments from gambling companies, including Olympic Casino Latvia Ltd., Alfor Ltd., Joker Ltd., and others, in response to the question of whether the ban in certain parts of the city was lawful. 

The businesses realized that the Rīga ordinance that forbade startups went against the city's spatial plan and breached Article 105 of the Constitution, which protects private property ownership. The law had to comply with this constitutional provision. The contested limitation extends to betting activities around Riga's bus and train stations as well as throughout the city, including at four- and five-star hotel venues.

The Riga City Council planted the first seeds in 2012 when it forbade the operation of 42-lane clubs in the city center. The following year, the council put a five-year freeze on the activities of the city's suburban casinos, giving them that time to close.


Municipal Failure: Unjustified Gambling Restrictions Are Judged by the Constitutional Court

The question of whether Riga's total gambling prohibition was warranted by any particular government policy came to light during the Constitutional Court's oversight of the capital's several gambling industry limitations. The territory was appraised prior to the challenged prohibition being enacted, a move that the court highlighted as evidence of the administrative department's disobedience with the legislative regulation.

Municipalities get the power to carry out their investigation and determine which neighborhoods should be set apart for gambling restriction purposes based on local interests, commerce, and population density when the statute specifically permits it. Finally, even after putting the hold in place, Riga continues to conduct no study on public opinion. 

The court held that such an act was unlawful because it did not follow the rights envisioned in the property and legislative process cases because it lacked such justification.

This ruling emphasizes how important it is for local governments to carefully consider and support any gaming limitations with applicable laws.



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