Lithuania approves creation of online-only gaming licences

Lithuania looks set to launch online-only gaming licences.
Lithuania looks set to launch online-only gaming licences.

The Lithuanian legislature has approved the first reading of amendments that would allow gaming licences to be granted to operators that don’t have a land-based presence.

Lithuania.- The Seimas, Lithuania’s legislature, has approved the first reading of amendments that would allow online-only gaming licences in the country.

At the moment, only operators that have a licence to offer land-based gaming can hold a remote gambling permit in Lithuania. Online-only operators must partner with land-based licensees to be able to offer gaming in the country. The new amendments to legislation would introduce a specific online licence that wouldn’t require a partnership.

Operators that wish to apply for a licence would need to hold at least €1.2m in capital in the case of casino gaming, or €289,000 and €144,000 in the case of online sports betting and online horse racing betting respectively.

Meanwhile, a new fee would apply to all kinds of gambling licences. Licensees must pay a fee of €1m on receipt of their licence and an additional payment depending on the type of licence. That payment would be €300,000 for slots, €100,000 for bingo and €500,000 for remote gambling.

The amendments would also require the construction of new slot halls, bingo halls and betting shops to be approved by municipal councils.

The first reading of the amendments was approved with 74 votes in favour, seven against and 39 abstentions. A second reading is still needed before the proposals become law.

Mykolas Majauskas, the member of the Lithuanian legislature who wrote the amendments, said the changes would generate €8m per year for the state. He said the money could be spent on addiction prevention.

The last amendment to Lithuania’s gambling laws prohibited all forms of promotion of gambling.

Earlier this week, the Lithuanian gambling regulator fined Unigames for offering products outside of its licence rules. It has previously fined UAB Tete-a-Tete Casino, owner of Cbet, for unreasonably placing betting limits on an online gaming customer.

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