One more case initiated with respect to norms that prohibit organising of gambling due to the spread of Covid-19
On 12 May 2020, the 1st Panel of the Constitutional Court initiated the case “On Compliance of Section 8 and 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, the First Sentence of Article 91 and the First and the Third Sentence of Article 105 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia”.
The Contested Norms
Section 8 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”:
“During the emergency situation related to the spread of Covid-19 it is prohibited to organise gambling and lotteries, except for interactive gambling, numerical lotteries, and instant lotteries.”
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 91 of the Satversme
“All human beings in Latvia shall be equal before the law and the courts.”
The first and the third sentence of Article 105 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia (hereafter – the Satversme):
“Everyone has the right to own property. Property rights may be restricted only in accordance with law.”
The case was initiated with respect to an application by limited liability companies “Alfor” and “Admirāļu klubs”. On the basis of the contested norm, the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection suspended the licences to organize gambling issued to the applicants. Abiding by this decision, the applicants have closed all places where gambling was organised, owned by the applicants, and also have suspended organising of interactive gambling.
The applicants hold that they have been fully denied the right to engage in commercial activities and reach the aim of commercial activities – gaining profit. Thus, it is alleged that the principle of legitimate expectations, derived from Article 1 of the Satversme, had been violated, likewise, the contested norms are said to be incompatible with the right to property, established in the first and the third sentence of Article 105 of the Satversme, as well as the principle of equality, defined in the first sentence of Article 91 of the Satversme.
The Constitutional Court has requested the institution, which issued the contested acts, the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia, to provide a reply on the facts of the case and legal reasoning by 12 July 2020.
The term for preparing the case is 12 October 2020. The Court shall decide upon the procedure and the date for hearing the case after the case has been prepared.
Open in PDF: 2020-27-01_PR_par_ierosinasanu_ENG
Linked case: 2020-27-01