Owners of more than 40 gambling facilities in Riga have started legal action against the Riga City Council following the latter’s decision to shut gambling halls in the city’s historical centre. The resolutions for the closures were made as a consequence of the Supreme Court’s February 24th ruling in the case associated with Riga-located gambling halls’ opening permits, as well as to create better organization of the city’s historic centre and especially-protected territories.
According to media reports, the Council’s representative Aira Smelde have shared the information, saying that operators had turned to court to appeal the Riga City Council’s decision. Currently, a total of six first-instance court verdicts have been issued, with the claims being rejected in all the rulings. Two of these rulings have been appealed to the administrative regional court, with one of the court proceeding being officially closed following the decision of the claimant to withdraw their application.
A few months ago, in October 2017, Riga City Council supported the initiative seeking closure of 33 more gambling halls in the city centre, boosting the number of venues set to be closed over the next five years to a total of 42. As reported at the time when the Council’s decision was revealed, the only exception from gambling halls closures would be made for venues situated in four- and five-star hotels.
Above a month earlier, in September 2017, the Council decided to revoke the operating licenses of nine gambling halls, with more venues’ closures being put under consideration. At the time when the announcements were made, the legal administration director Juris Liepins contacted the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspectorate in order to make sure that all necessary resolutions on the closures have been passed.
Olympic Entertainment Loses Court Battle
As mentioned above, the city’s legal department is making preparations to issue resolutions to shut down gambling halls located in the historical centre of Riga. Then, the Council is to have a vote on the closures of each facility individually, with gambling operators set to be given five years to finalize closure procedures of their businesses in the expected locations.
So far, no timeframes about the consideration and decision-making on casino closures have been set by Riga City Council.
Last week saw one of the leading gaming services providers in the Baltic States – Olympic Entertainment Group AS – lose its court fight over the closure of one of its casinos in Riga. Last Monday, the company revealed that the District Administrative Court had made a ruling favoring Riga City Council in terms of one of its casinos. Under the Council’s decision, the casino is required to shut operations by October 2022. The Chief Executive Officer of Olympic Entertainment reiterated the company’s intentions to appeal the decision of the administrative court to higher level court.
Anthony Huber has been a freelance author for two years. He is really interested in the gambling industry and he even has some experience as a freelance beta tester for a big software provider.