The Casino Reorganization in Riga: part of the gaming complexes is closed, Storm International unit meets the new requirements

As an implementation result of the plan to eliminate gambling halls in Riga, only two gambling halls, opened in four- and five-star hotels, will continue to operate, according to information from the Inspectorate for Supervision of Lotteries and Gambling. SL Casino, owned by Michael Boettcher’s Storm International, will continue to operate normally as it meets the new stricter requirements. The court also approved the closure of the Olympic Entertainment Group casino in the Riga center.

The Riga City Council leadership informed about further actions in connection with the intention to liquidate gambling establishments in the city. According to Alexei Roslikov, Duma Committee on Urban Development chairman, there are 32 four-star and eight five-star hotels in Riga. It is unlikely that a new gambling hall will be opened in each of them, because its equipment requires large rooms, he said. There are also four casinos in Riga, for the opening of which self-government permission is not required.

Note that SL Casino has become one of the few casinos that has not been affected by the changes. This is due to the fact that from the first day the establishment began work in the VIP niche and was focused on respectable guests. The casino rooms are located in 5-star Grand Hotel Kempinski, which completed restoration only in 2017. Darren Keane, Storm International CEO, noted that the establishment strives to become one of the best casinos in Riga and focuses not only on citizens, but also foreign guests.

The Estonian company Olympic Entertainment Group (OEG) received the Administrative Circuit Court decision, which recognized the Riga City Council decision as justified, according to which OEG and should close unit in Riga at 15. Rainis Boulevard. OEG notes that they plan to appeal this decision to the next court.

In general, the ban affects 41 gaming establishments and for each of them the city council will prepare separate draft resolutions on closure. The Council will decide on each establishment separately, after which the operators will have five years to curtail their activities in Riga’s historical center.

The Riga City Council chairman, Neil Ushakov, told reporters that the Duma Committee on Security, Order and Prevention of Corruption may begin to consider the first decisions on gambling halls elimination as early as 2019.

According to the latest data, 163 gambling halls are currently operating in Riga, most of them in Purvciems and Kengarags.

The main trump card of self-government in the fight against entrepreneurs operating in the field of gambling will be Riga’s territorial planning until 2030, which is planned to be approved in the summer of 2019. It provides for the existing gambling establishments liquidation in the city and a ban on opening new ones.

In the near future it is planned to conduct a survey of Riga residents to find out their attitude to gambling establishments. The Committee on Security, Order and Prevention of Corruption chairman, Dainis Turlays, said that previous polls revealed an almost one hundred percent negative attitude of Riga residents to excessive enthusiasm for gambling. At the same time, the townspeople are well aware that licensed gambling establishments significantly replenish the city and state treasury.

Recall, that on March 27, 2019, the Riga City Council unanimously conceptually supported the closure of all gambling halls in the capital, with the exception of those located in four- and five-star hotels.

The revocation of licenses from low-end gambling halls throughout Riga is a decisive step towards combating gambling addiction and their negative consequences. By the way, SL Casino is one of the few casinos in Latvia that supports the Responsible Gaming program and helps fight against addiction. Guests of this establishment can blacklist themselves, and staff undergo special training to distinguish between addiction signs.

SL Casino official website: https://sl-casino.lv/