More than 14,000 Latvians have voluntarily banned themselves from gambling

The press release of the Latvian government agency that oversees innovative schemes for the gambling sector shows updated data on lists of self-excluded gamblers. Thus, since its launch on January 1, 2020, the “register of selfless individuals” has received 14,620 applications from people who want to voluntarily ban themselves from gambling.

The voluntary scheme blocks access to gambling halls and casinos as in land-based sector, and on the Internet, helping people with compulsive or addictive behavior to avoid further aggravation of gambling addiction.

In order to exclude themselves from the lists of players, the user just needs to go through a quick registration procedure on the official government portal using their personal data and identification code. The minimum blocking period is 12 months. Currently, during a period of severe restrictions on movement, an application can only be submitted remotely, using electronic means of identification for personal authentication. Registration is effective from the date of application.

Signe Byrne, head of the Lottery and Gambling Supervision Authority, said the scheme has proven effective amid concerns that lockdowns and similar measures could lead to a surge popularity of online gambling.

"The Gambling Risk Registry is one of the tools that can help fight gambling addiction," said Byrne.

During 2020, the agency provided more than 550 free psychological consultations players and their relatives.

In a 2019 study published by the Ministry of Health, it was found that about 16,000 residents of Latvia are at risk of developing gambling addiction.

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