As part of its ongoing crackdown on gaming, Latvia’s Finance Ministry has confirmed its intention to increase gaming tax by 30 per cent.
The Ministry said it wanted to increase its yearly tax from slot machines from €3,204 to €4,164. It said that annual taxes generated by a casino gaming table would increase from €18k to €23,400.
In total the tax increases will generate an additional tax revenue of €8.25m in 2018 and €9m per year after 2018.
The move follows the Riga City Council’s decision to prohibit all slot halls in the city’s historic district, apart from those housed in four or five-star hotels. That vote will see the 41 gaming venues shut down by the council and follows a Supreme Court ruling decision to approve the council’s rejection of a new venue in the old district.
The ban affects seven slots halls owned by Estonian-based Olympic Entertainment Group. The operator currently owns 54 venues across Latvia, generating GGR of €66.2m and operating profit of €24m in 2016.
The news of the tax increase came as Olympic announced its second quarter earnings for the three months ending June 30. Latvia offered the company an increase in GGR of nine per cent taking its total to €15.1m. The company’s second-largest market Estonia saw GGR increase by 15.7 per cent to €11.2m.
The operator’s Lithuanian casinos and slot halls increased by 9.5 per cent to €6.3m.
In Italy its operations increased by 21 per cent to €7.7m, whilst its casino in Malta saw improved revenues of 22.9 per cent to €3.1m. Out of all its markets, only Slovakia dropped for Olympic with GGR falling by 12.2 per cent to €3.8m.