One more case initiated with respect to a norm that prohibits organising of gambling in the interactive environment
On 2 June 2020, the 1st Panel of the Constitutional Court initiated the case “On Compliance of Section 9 of the Law “On Measures for the Prevention and Suppression of Threat to the State and Its Consequences Due to the Spread of COVID-19” with Article 1 and the First Sentence of Article 105 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia”.
The Contested Norm
Section 9 of the law “On Measures for the Prevention and Suppression of Threat to the State and Its Consequences Due to the Spread of COVID-19”:
“For the duration of operation of this Law the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection shall suspend all the licences to operate gambling both in physical locations where gambling is organised (licence of a casino, license of a gambling hall, licence of a bingo hall) and in the interactive environment and (or) using the intermediation of electronic communications services.”
The Norms of Higher Legal Force
Article 1 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia (hereafter – the Satversme):
“Latvia is an independent democratic republic.”
The first sentence of Article 105 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia (hereafter – the Satversme): “Everyone has the right to own property.”
The case was initiated with respect to an application by a limited liability company “Latsson Licensing”. On the basis of the contested norm, the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection suspended the licences to organize gambling issued to the applicant. Thus, the applicant had been denied the right to engage in commercial activities – to organise gambling in the interactive environment – and gain profit from it.
The Applicant notes that the contested norm restricts a person’s right to property, established in the first sentence of Article 105 of the Satversme, which comprises, inter alia, a person’s right to engage in commercial activities on the basis of a licence. It is alleged that this restriction was not established by a legal norm adopted in procedure set out in regulatory enactments, is incompatible with the purpose to protect society from the spread of Covid‑19, and had been adopted without a legitimate aim. Even assuming that the legitimate aim of the restriction on fundamental rights, established in the contested norm, is protecting persons against inexpedient expenditure, this restriction on fundamental rights is said to be disproportionate.
The applicant holds that the contested norm violates also the principle of legal certainty and legitimate expectations included in Article 1 of the Satversme. Moreover, in the procedure of adopting the norm, also the principle of good legislation, included in Article 1 of the Satversme, had been breached.
The Constitutional Court has requested the institution, which issued the contested act, the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia, to provide a reply on the facts of the case and legal reasoning by 3 August 2020.
The term for preparing the case is 2 November 2020. The Court shall decide upon the procedure and the date for hearing the case after the case has been prepared.
Open in PDF: 2020-32-01_PR_par_ierosinasanu_ENG
Linked case: 2020-32-01