Riga City Council points to contradiction between the benefits and harm from gambling

A contradiction exists between the benefits gambling has for the national economy and the harm it causes to society, said the head of the Employment, Public Work and Practical Affairs Office of Riga City Council Juris Osis on Wednesday, 13 October.
On Wednesday members of the city council discussed the consequences of gambling for people and society as a whole. Osis said that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic there were 143 gambling halls in Riga. Later, however, operations of gambling halls was halted because of Covid-19 and epidemiological restrictions.
Gambling halls were permitted to reopen from mid-June onward and 38 gambling halls reopened in Riga. In July there were 73 gambling halls and in August – 88. In September this number increased further to 101.
Osis reported that 95% of the gambling tax goes to the state budget and 5% – to the budget of the municipality where gambling halls are located. In the past municipalities received a bigger cut.
This is why there is a contradiction between the contribution gambling brings to the economy and the harm it causes to society, because the state receives the biggest cut of the tax, whereas municipalities are the ones «left to take the blame and deal with damages».
A study performed in 2019 revealed that 77% of Latvian residents believe there are too many gambling halls in the country. The study also revealed that 59% of residents would approve a general ban on gambling.
The study also revealed that the average portrait of a gambling addict in Riga is a man of Latvian ethnicity aged 15 to 24 years or 35 to 44 with secondary education or lower.