Latvian igaming market soars as land-based gaming declines in 2021

Latvia’s gambling revenue fell by 19.8% in 2021, with significant online growth offset by a decline in land-based gaming’s contribution.

Overall revenue from gambling was recorded at €128.0m. Online gaming almost doubled year-on-year from 2020, making up €109.0m of the total revenue- a 91.8% rise.

Online casino games made up €87.8m of the total igaming revenue, more than doubling its revenue from 2020. Totalisers, wherein bets are added up in a pari-mutuel system, made up €19.4m, a rise of 47.7% year-on-year. Online card games generated €1.7m, up 98.0%.

Currently, 13 operators are licensed to offer igaming in Latvia.

Signe Birne, head of the Lotteries and Gambling Supervision Inspectorate, commented on how the Covid-19 crisis has reshaped the gaming market.

“Last year, the amount of revenue decreased significantly and the share of gambling types in the total turnover of the industry changed, due to restrictions imposed by Covid-19,” said Birne.

”Gambling machine revenue was €17.2m in 2021, which is only 18% of its revenue from 2020. Revenue from interactive gambling is €109.0m, almost double the 2020 results.”

Throughout 2021 the Inspectorate implemented controls to protect the online gaming market as more customers played, enforcing anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing measures

The Inspectorate also blocked a number of illegal sites from customers in Latvia. A total of 735 domains were blocked in 2021, a 34% rise on 2020.

For land-based gaming, gambling machines made up €17.1m of the overall revenue, a fall of 82.0% from 2020. Gaming table games, such as roulette and card games, generated €1.5m, a decrease of 70.5%.

Bingo halls incurred a loss of €2,000 compared to €121,000 generated the year before. Betting terminal revenue totalled at €245,000, down 84.3%.

Land-based facilities, such as gaming halls and casinos, were closed in Latvia from November 9 2020 to June 15 2021 as a part of the country’s measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Before the lockdown 305 gaming halls were in operation across the country. By October 2020, this number had fallen to 208.

The Latvian government also temporarily banned online gaming earlier in the pandemic, in 2020.

In terms of GGR Latvia’s third quarter was the most successful, generating €42.2m. The fourth quarter made €40.7m, while the second quarter accumulated €29.4m. The first quarter of the year was the least successful, with GGR of €26.4m.

Author: Raymond Fleming