Latvian authorities have published a list of illegal gambling sites for their country. Compiled by the Latvia Lotteries and Gambling Supervision Inspection, the infamous blacklist encompasses 44 sites that will no longer be able to offer their services in the Baltic country.
Numerous well-known sites have found their names on the list, including PokerStars and Full Tilt. Some other highly recognizable names in the industry that have been blacklisted are PartyPoker, 888, Unibet and William Hill.
An Issue of Control
The decision came about as the result of Latvian authorities’ efforts to get better control over online gambling. It will, in all likelihood, have severe consequences for Latvian players and will make it impossible for them to access and/or deposit on the biggest poker and gambling sites in the world.
On the base of Section 65 of Credit institutions Law and Section 44.2 Payment services and electronic money Law, financial transactions to and from illegal online gambling operators are prohibited from August 1, 2014.
Based on this paragraph from the official note on the Inspection pages, any transactions involving blacklisted operators are being outlawed. Without the possibility of transacting money, players will be prevented from using the sites. Furthermore, Internet providers have an obligation to block access to the aforementioned sites.
Protecting or Harming Players?
Although the decision was reached with the goal of customer protection and better regulation in mind, many see it as restrictive and a huge setback. What comes next is that certain rooms will probably try to comply with Latvian regulations and obtain operating licenses if they see it as a worthwhile investment. However, due to complicated laws regarding regulation, this might not be an option even for the giants like PokerStars and their sister site, Full Tilt.
From the players’ perspective, this is certainly another sad day for online poker.