Constitutional Court recognises that gambling restrictions within Riga administrative territory imposed without adequate justification

2024 - 04 - 05

COBALT has successfully represented gambling company Olympic Casino Latvia SIA in legal proceedings against Riga City Council contesting the provision that prohibited to organise gambling and to provide the corresponding gambling services across the entire administrative territory of Riga, except for such gambling venues that are located in four or five-star hotels.

During the court proceedings, COBALT was able to prove that the restriction on organising gambling across the entire administrative territory of Riga was incompatible with Article 1 and the first, second and third sentences of Article 105 of the Constitution of Latvia (the Satversme).

The Constitutional Court recognised that within the process of spatial planning, it was neither rational nor expedient to conduct an individual assessment of each location when imposing restrictions on specific types of commercial gambling activities. The Constitutional Court recognised the contested norm as null and void from the moment of the infringement of the fundamental rights of these persons. The court’s decision is final.

The Constitutional Court emphasised that, in imposing restrictions on the organisation of gambling, a local authority is required to ensure, firstly, adherence to the fundamental rights guaranteed to traders under Article 105 of the Constitution and additional norms within the Constitution, and secondly, the safeguarding of individual rights through the mitigation of potential risks associated with gambling addiction.

COBALT team, including Partner Lauris Liepa and Senior Associates Jānis Sarāns-Reneslācis and Gabriela Šantare, represented the client before the court.

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