To avoid any unpleasant surprises, we are informing you that starting from 20th of December Citadele Bank will reject payment card transactions, which the client wishes to make on unlicensed interactive gambling and lottery sites.
Why has this limitation been applied?
The Ministry of Finance has begun limiting the operation of unlicensed gambling and lottery organisers, as the companies who maintain these websites, are not registered in Latvia. Similarly, both the organisers of gambling, as well as players themselves tend to evade paying the respective taxes. In addition, unverified or unlicensed gambling in Latvia may also be used as a tool in schemes of money laundering and financing terrorism.
The amended law provides for an obligation for financial institutions to reject payments to an organiser of interactive gambling and lotteries, which has not been licensed in Latvia.
How does this affect you?
These changes stipulate a prohibition to participate in interactive gambling or interactive lotteries that have not been licensed in Latvia, also imposing the liability on the person for participating in these illegal games.
If you gamble online or in a mobile application, we suggest that you henceforth verify, whether the respective online gambling and lottery website has been issued a licence in Latvia. If the payment card has previously been used for payments in interactive gambling, we suggest that you check whether it has been registered for automatic payments (for example, for placing bets) with interactive gambling and lottery organisers that are not licensed in Latvia.
If, however, you attempt to make a payment on any of the unlicensed websites, information regarding the rejected transactions of every person will be submitted to the State Revenue Service (SRS). The SRS will examine detailed information regarding the players of illegal games, perhaps, also applying fines. The list of licensed websites can be viewed on the website of the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection.
We, Citadele, pay special care to provide timely and accurate information to our clients regarding changes in the accessibility of the bank’s products and services. Therefore, ahead of the official prohibition that comes into force on 1 January 2020, we will already begin applying the new procedure on 20th December, creating a transition period.