Lithuania Gambling License

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Land-based gambling has been legalized and regulated in many countries around the world many years ago. But the story is different for online gambling. Not all markets that have regulated land-based gambling have also regulated online gambling. In fact, it was only in recent years that regulated markets started considering legalizing online gambling, after seeing the demand for it, and after seeing the interest of both onshore and offshore operators.

Lithuania is a perfect example of a country that regulated online gambling just a few years ago. While land-based gambling, to some extent, was regulated, the country had to go through years of preparations to launch online gambling. However, it managed to do it in 2016, even though updates and changes to the legislative law continue to the present day.

History of Gambling in Lithuania

The first time Lithuania looked into online gambling regulation was in 2010 when the government suggested it should be based on the Estonian model. And while preparations were in order, the Vilnius regional court decided that ISA should order ISPs to block access of unlicensed offshore sites in Lithuania. ISPs challenged the Vilnius’ decision on the grounds that it was ineffective, and the decision was upheld.

Then, the government in 2013 approved amendments to the Gambling Act. The official gambling regulation was expected in 2014, although now we know it happened 2 years later. The government suggested at this time regulation that would include restrictions such as prevention requirements, and daily player time and betting limits. This is when the European Commission sent a letter of formal notice regarding the gambling legislation in 2013.

Land-Based Casinos Need a License to in Lithuania
Land-Based Casinos Need a License to in Lithuania
In 2014 Lithuania notified the European Commission of the changes in the Gambling Bill, which would regulate commercial online gambling. The bill stated that any offshore operator who wanted to apply for a license should have an onshore presence and pay a minimum share capital of LTL4 million.

After a critical detailed opinion by the European Commission on Lithuania’s proposed legislation for operators to have a land-based gambling license and a Plc. in Lithuania, or at least a branch under Lithuanian company law, in 2015, President Grybauskaitė, amended the legislation stating that interactive gambling may be operated and organized only by operators that hold a license by the Lithuanian Gaming Control Authority.

Moreover, the Gambling Supervision Service was given the power to take legal action and block illegal gambling supplying in Lithuania, and as of the 1st of January, 2016, Lithuania regulated online gambling for the first time in history.

This is the year the first casino and betting licenses were issued in Lithuania, but also when the first blacklist appeared. The Gaming Control Authority signed an agreement with ESSA, the sports betting integrity body to share information and combat corruption in sport this year, too.

In 2018, the Ministry of Finance proposed an amendment to the Gambling Law, with the aim to impose strict restrictions on gambling advertising, following the example of other regulated markets. By 2019, the new gambling advertising restrictions were enforced.

Types of Licenses and Permits

There are two general types of licenses operators can apply for in Lithuania:

  • Terrestrial gambling licenses
  • Online gambling license

However, multiple sub-licenses can be issued, depending on the gambling service and games operators would like to offer Lithuanian players. There are 6 types of gambling allowed:

  • Machine gaming (category A and B)
  • Bingo
  • Table games (roulette, dice or card games)
  • Totalisator
  • Betting
  • Remote gaming
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Applying for a Lithuanian Casino License

An operator can apply for a license to operate in Lithuania only if it has at least some of the following land-based gambling establishments set in the country: one casino, 5 totalisator offices for horseracing, 10 machine halls, 20 betting offices, or 20 totalisator offices. Or, online gambling may be organized by a branch of a foreign company in Lithuania, if it meets all the requirements set by the law. The authorized capital for a company to organize remote gambling of any or all types of gambling should be at least €1,158,000.

The company interested in applying for a license must file an application with the Control Authority indicating its code, name, head office address, address and phone of the gambling location, fax numbers, types of gaming to be organized, the issue date of the gambling license and number, position and full name of the person authorised who has completed and signed the application, and the date of application. Remote gambling operators who plan to operate with gaming devices should, in addition, provide documents certifying the conformity of the devices to the requirements set by the Control Authority. The application is quite lengthy, and it further requires other details and documents on the casino games, the personnel and the capital.

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