On Thursday, 2 June, the Saeima conceptually supported amendments to the Law on Gambling and Lotteries that provide for restricting gambling restrictions, as BNN was told by Saeima’s press-service.
Amendments provide for prohibiting persons younger than 21 years from gambling. Currently persons younger than 18 years are not allowed to gamble. Amendments were initiated to protect residents who have yet to form an understanding of the concept of financial independence, the negative effect gambling has on mental development of a person and his or her ability to integrate in society, the annotation mentions.
To limit accessibility of gambling, it is planned to increase the number of slot machines from 20 to 25 in gambling halls. This is intended to contribute to the shutting down of smaller gambling halls and pile pressure on gambling organisers to equip gambling halls in accordance with regulations, authors of amendments said.
Amendments also prohibit organisation of gambling halls in buildings that house education institutions, buildings close to playgrounds and recreational facilities,
and within 250 m of entrances.
It is also planned to prohibit gambling in apartment buildings outside Riga’s historical city centre and protected zones, as well as residential houses elsewhere in Latvia. The annotation to the legislative draft mentions that the risk of gambling increases considerably if gambling halls or casinos are located close to people’s homes. Restricting such situations is important in areas with high population density.
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For amendments to come to force, they have to be passed by the Saeima in the second and third reading.