Lithuania to introduce new dedicated remote gaming licence

Lithuania to introduce new dedicated remote gaming licence

The Seimas has approved amendments to Lithuania’s gambling legislation.

Lithuania.- The Lithuanian legislature, the Seimas has approved new amendments to the country’s gambling and lottery and gaming tax legislation. The changes will allow the national regulator, the Gambling Supervisory Authority, to offer a specific licence for remote gambling.

The move will allow the government to split the requirements for remote gambling and land-based gambling, which are currently tied. Online gambling operators currently need municipal consent to tie in with a land-based gaming operator.

The new remote gaming licences will remove the need for online gambling operators to have a domiciled presence in Lithuania.

The amendment states that “The organisation of remote gambling, unlike land-based gambling, is not related to its execution in a specific territory (municipality). Remote gambling is carried out online throughout the territory of the Republic of Lithuania. Thus, it is not appropriate to require a municipality’s consent when issuing a permit for remote gambling.”

The changes mean that existing online gambling operators will need to transfer to specific remote licences. They will have two years to do so. The one-off fee for the new licences will be €500,000, as established in new amendments to the Lotteries and Tax Act. Operators that run both land-based and online gambling will pay €1m.

Lithuanian regulator closes proceeds loophole

The Gambling Supervisory Authority has taken steps to close a loophole in Lithuania’s Code of Administrative Offences (ANK) that prevented it from confiscating the proceeds of illegal acts or the tools used to commit them.

The regulator had realised that while article 34, paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the code allow tools used in an administrative offence and the proceeds of said offence to be confiscated, the measure applied only to individuals not to companies. It said that as a result, the regulator would not have been able to confiscate any proceeds of illegal gambling from companies – only from individuals.

It submitted an amendment to article 134 in 2021 in a bid to close the loophole and its proposal has now been approved and has entered into law.

Meanwhile, the regulator has been very active in enforcement action against operators for breaches of Lithuania’s ban on promoting gambling. It has issued several €25,000 fines to operators in recent months.

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