Lithuania to Explore Relaxing Online Gaming Regulations

Casino, from Unsplash

The Seimas has recently approved several amendments to the gambling act in the country, which incorporates the creation of gaming licenses to online-only gaming providers.

This change to the current legislation in Lithuania would mean that companies who wish to establish an online gaming presence can do so without being connected to an actual licensed physical casino already based in the country. However, whilst the legislature has been voted in favour of this first reading, it must pass a second reading before it becomes law.

Mykolas Majauskas, the chairman of the parliament’s Committee on Budget and Finances, has said the new regulations would remove the conditions that distort competition in the market and break apart the current monopoly.

Many of the casinos already in operation across the country are housed in hotels and feature table games such as poker and roulette to slot machines and sports betting. But with the rise in iGaming across the EU during the past few years, it could well mean that Lithuania feels the benefit of that finance too. Gala Casino outlines how mobile gaming continues to rise in popularity, fuelled by the increase in gamers utilising smartphone technology and the enforced lockdowns experienced by many across the globe. These restrictions meant that visiting the physical casinos wasn’t a possibility, and players turned to other means to enjoy their hobby.

Changing legislation to allow online or iGaming in the Balkan states isn’t anything new, as over in Croatia, online gambling businesses have been allowed to operate since 2010. However, there was some confusion around that legislation until the addition of the 2014 ‘Zakon o igrama na sreću’ gambling law reaffirmed that online gaming and gambling was legal. According to Croatian news outlet N1, it’s now become an industry that generated €540million from 70 companies operating in the country.

So, it’s not difficult to see why many would suggest that the reason why so many countries are opening their doors to the iGaming industry is down to the revenue it creates for the economy. This could be further highlighted as the influence for Majauskas and the Seimas, too, as the chairman of the Committee on Budget and Finances said that it would result in the country gaining an additional €8million in tax revenue annually.

The new law has introduced a fee for these gambling licenses which is where much of that increase in revenue could come from. All those looking to gain the license would have to pay an initial €1million on receipt of their authorisation to open up their online establishment, plus an additional fee which depends on the type of iGaming they wish to enter. It would be €300,000 for online slots, €100,000 for bingo and betting, and €500,000 for remote gambling.

Although the legislature has yet to be fully passed, with only seven votes against the change in the law from the 120 members of the Seimas in the first reading of the proposed rule change, that would be one indication that the second reading may also pass similarly. Also, another factor could be signposted from experts naming Kaunas Among the Top-Ranking Technological Cities of the Future, it’s possible that Lithuania is the perfect home for the ever-developing iGaming industry too.

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