Lithuanian regulator threatens action against illegal gambling operators

The Lithuanian Gaming Control Authority (LGCA), Lithuania’s gambling regulator, has warned unlicensed operators that it will block access to their sites if they continue to operate in the country without a licence.

Operators must possess the correct licence in order to operate legally in the country. If an online gambling operator offers its products in Lithuania without a license it is considered as an illegal operator.

Lithuanian regulator warns illegal operators

The Lithuanian regulator has now issued a warning to non-compliant gambling businesses and reiterated that only licensed operators with special permissions for online gambling may offer their products in the country.

In Lithuania, the gambling laws permit the LGCA to take action against unlicensed operators which includes block access to their websites in Lithuania as well as blocking payments. 

The regulator’s powers were established in the Gaming Law of the Republic of Lithuania.

In a statement, the regulatory body said: “The Control Authority strongly recommends all online gambling operators review all their activities related to remote gambling in Lithuania and take actions to ensure that such services are not available for Lithuanian customers.

“After having identified the fact of illegal remote gambling activity in the Republic of Lithuania, the Control Authority is authorised to take measures established in the Gaming Law.”

If an operator has its site blocked, it is also added to the LGCA’s blacklist of unlicensed and illegal gambling operators, which is available on its website and is updated regularly.

An operator may be taken off of the blacklist if it secures the relevant and necessary licenses to serve the country.

During the 2021, the regulator added several new operators to its blacklist which now includes the domains of Betway, Unibet, William Hill, PokerStars, Marathonbet, Triobet, Pinnacle, Bet365 and 188bet.

Last year, Lithuania’s parliament, Vilnius Seimas, made amendments to the country’s gambling laws giving the Gaming Control Authority more responsibility as a national regulator. 

Since then, the regulator has enforced new safer gambling standards on operator advertising as well as implementing new transparency measures on licensed company ownership and management.

The regulator’s warning comes after the country’s Gambling Supervisory Authority issued its first ever fine against an operator last month. 

Lithuania’s first ever fine

Last month, the Gambling Supervisory Authority handed down a fine to the operator, UAB Tete-a-Tete Casino, the company behind the CBet brand.

The Authority fined the operator €15,000 (£13,049) after it was found to have unreasonably set betting limits on an online customers’ account.

Last month, the Authority also fined an employee of a digital media business after they were found to have placed illegal gambling advertisements on Krepš, a basketball news and information site.

The site was discovered to have been hosting gambling ads with animated backgrounds that featured promotional bonuses. 

In Lithuania, it is illegal to feature bonuses or promotional offers in gambling ads, and on top of this, ads failed to include the mandatory warnings that are required by law.