Lithuania begins blocking payments to illegal iGaming operators

The Gaming Control Authority of Lithuania has implemented strict controls on online gaming operators in accordance with recent amendments to Lithuanian gaming law, which came into force on January 1st, 2016.

The gambling regulator has warned online gaming operators that it will take strict legal action against all those offering remote gambling illegally to Lithuanian players.

Effective January 1st, all banks and other financial institutions operating in Lithuania, including payment providers, are under legally binding orders to prevent all payments and credits between illegal gambling operators and players in the country.

The new regulations also empower the gambling regulator to order internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to illegal online gaming websites, with a blacklist of illegal operators to be made public.

Virginijus Dauksys, Director of the Gaming Control Authority, commented: “These changes to regulation have been widely publicized and will be strictly legally enforced. Gaming operators need to be licensed to operate in the Republic of Lithuania.”

Under the new regulations, which were notified to the European Commission in May 2015, all online gaming operators serving Lithuanian players must hold authorisation from the Gaming Control Authority.

In order to secure a remote gaming licence, operators in the European Union and European Economic Area are required to establish a land-based presence in the country, operating at least one casino, five horse race betting points, 10 slot machine parlours, or 20 bookmaking points.

Remote licence applicants without a land-based presence in the country may still be approved, subject to committing to open the required land-based venue within two years of licensure.


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