Lithuania attacks gaming operators' attempts to bypass site blocking

The Gaming Control Authority of Lithuania has attacked a number of high profile operators who it claims are “blatantly violating” the country’s iGaming regulations by changing their web domains to avoid attempts to block access to their sites.

While it does not name the companies, it says that since the introduction of new iGaming laws at the start of this year, it has discovered that a number of operators have repeatedly changed web domain  to ensure Lithuanian players can gamble via their sites.

Under Lithuanian law, any operator that is not licensed by the Gaming Control Authority is liable to have access to its site blocked by local ISPs in order to channel players towards the regulated offering.

In addition, from January 1st all banks and other financial institutions have been given legally binding instructions to prevent all payments and credits between unlicensed operators and players in the country.

A blacklist of domains was published in January, with the likes of William Hill, Betway and Unibet among the operators listed.

The regulator said that rather than this prompting operators to secure a licence or withdraw from the market, companies have simply stepped up efforts to circumvent the blocking.

The Gaming Control Authority says that such activity shows a lack of respect for Lithuania’s national regulations and infringes legal acts passed by the country.

“Furthermore, the Gaming Control Authority considers such actions as unethical and unfair behaviour, which casts a shadow over reputation of the participants of the whole gaming market, operating fairly and legally,” the regulator said.

It will now look to take additional measures against such companies, while continuing to block unlicensed operators.

“It is surprising that certain world-wide known companies, reluctant to legalise their activity, are blatantly violating the laws of the Republic of Lithuania,” Gaming Control Authority director Virginijus Dauksys said.

“Changing of the internet domain name in order to avoid the legal measures and to operate illegally in Lithuania can be treated as smuggling activity.

“The Gaming Control Authority will continue by all means available to seek to ensure the protection of Lithuanian gambling market from illegal offers and protection of customers of the Republic of Lithuania from uncontrolled gambling flows to prevent compulsive and minors gambling,” Dauksys explained.


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