The European Commission came down hard on six European Union member states back in 2013 for not having done enough to regulate online gambling, with Lithuania being one of the six members.
Lithuania has taken its time to put together a robust set of regulations to govern its online gambling industry and has rolled out a new gambling law from the 1st of Jan 2016. The Lithuanian Gaming Control Authority (LGCA), a part of the country’s Ministry of Finance has imposed strict penalties for establishments and individuals that would violate the new gaming law and has extensively publicized and promoted these new measures to ensure that everyone in the country is made aware of the new procedures.
In a statement, Virginijus Dauksys, director of the LGCA said “These changes to regulation have been widely publicised and will be strictly legally enforced. Gaming operators need to be licensed to operate in the Republic of Lithuania.”
The new gaming law in Lithuania is pretty similar to the gaming legislation in Belgium requiring all remote licensing operators to form a partnership with a land based casino in Lithuania to continue running their online gambling website. Gambling companies who wish to operate a licensed online operation in the country must have a share capital of more than $1.18 million and have an incorporated company in Lithuania.
During the last couple of years, Lithuania has seen a significant growth of illegal gambling websites in the country and the new legislation imposes stiff fines and penalties on any establishment that operates without a license.
The LGCA has also comprised a long blacklist of illegal gambling website domains and has shared this list with credit card companies and financial institutions, cautioning them to no longer process payments that originate from these domains. This illegal gambling industry will be closely monitored and the blacklist will be updated on a regular basis.
The new gaming law also requires online gambling providers to open out a minimum number of brick & mortar gambling establishments in the country before launching an online gambling website. In the past, gambling establishments were free to offer gifts and bonuses to players to encourage them to continue to gamble. The new gambling legislation now prohibits gambling operators from offering any kind of gifts to players once they start playing and also prevents operators from promoting or advertising any kind of contests, tribal bets and lotteries outside their brick & mortar establishments or online websites.
The LGCA has confirmed that since the rules were implemented from the 1st of January, only one gambling provider has applied for a license so far.