‘Smuggling’ claims levelled at global giants by Lithuanian regulator

‘Smuggling’ claims levelled at global giants by Lithuanian regulator

Friday, March 4, 2016 Totally Gaming
Sites such as PokerStars and 188Bet have been declared illegal in the Baltic state

Lithuania’s gambling regulator has accused unlicensed operators of actions tantamount to “smuggling” after PokerStars and 188Bet became the latest major operators to be added to the country’s list of blocked domains.

The new online gaming market was only launched in Lithuania on January 1, but already some 85 websites have been declared illegal by the Lithuanian Gaming Control Authority (LGCA).

A variety of MarathonBet, Pinnacle Sports and Nordic Bet sites have also been added since the start of February, joining the likes of WilliamHill.com and Betway.com on the banned list. Lithuania has issued just four licences since the market was launched two months ago.

The LGCA was critical of operators that it believes are using a number of domain names to “circumvent the measures, established in the Gaming Law…and persist in violating the legal provisions in force in Lithuania”. 

It said it 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”.

“It is surprising that certain worldwide-known companies, reluctant to legalise their activity, are blatantly violating the laws of the Republic of Lithuania,” said Virginijus Dauksys, director of the LGCA. “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."

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