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42 gambling halls to be closed down in Riga in next five years

Photo: pixabay.com.
On Wednesday, 18 October, Riga City Council supported plans to close another 33 gambling halls in the city. With that, a total of 42 gambling halls will be liquidated in the next five year.

Riga City Council’s Legal Office has prepared decisions for revoking permits allowing the opening of new gambling halls within Riga’s historic centre and its protected area. Restrictions will not apply to four and five-star hotels and public construction territories.

Disagreements appeared between coalition and opposition deputies from the beginning of this matter’s review. This is because opposition representative Juris Pūce and Mārtiņš Bondars opposed the closure of gambling halls. During the decision-making process, deputies mentioned that Pūce should step down because his wife’s association Ascendum had received more nearly half a million euros worth of donations from gambling businesses.

Deputy Aleksejs Rosļikovs mentioned that Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has launched an investigation about this.

Pūce said that accusations voiced against him are nothing more than ‘populist drivel’ intended to create the impression that Harmony has finally done something good for residents. He added that the true purpose of those accusations is the desire to continue stealing from and distracting people.

As previously reported, city council representatives supported the closure of nine gambling halls in September. Today they approved the closure of 33 more gambling halls. Legal office director Juris Liepiņš has turned to the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspectorate to find out if the city council authorized the closure of all gambling halls in the city’s historic centre and protected territory.

These decisions were made to fulfil the Supreme Court’s side-ruling of 24 February 2017 in the case regarding the issuing of permits for opening gambling halls in Riga, as well as to sort out the capital’s historic centre and protected territories.

Once the municipality makes the decision to close down a gambling hall, the business is given five years to shut down.


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