In an announcement made earlier this week, the Gaming Control Authority under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania announced internationally, that it has decided to block several online gambling websites that are not adhering to new regulations that were introduced by the national government earlier this year.
In late January, the Lithuanian gaming regulator told local media and promised its constituents that it would take “strict legal action” against international and foreign operators that were organising remote gambling illegally via Lithuania.
The Lituanian Gaming Control Authority followed up on this announcement by blocking several widely known companies who have been operating in the country illegally after the January decision. The Lithuanian regulator named these accused online gaming firms in a list that it posted on its website.
In their statement, the Gaming Control Authority said that in addition to blocking the illegal operators, it will plan further action against such companies to make sure they stay shut down.
The brands that stuck out on the list include big online gaming names like Betway, Unibet, William Hill, PokerStars, Marathonbet and 188bet.
Virginijus Dauksys, director of the Gaming Control Authority, told international media: “It is surprising that certain world-wide known companies, reluctant to legalise their activity, are blatantly violating the laws of the Republic of Lithuania.
“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 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.”
Along with the blacklist, they also published a list of gambling operators that have been officially licensed to offer legal online gambling and betting services in the nation. TonyBet is one of them, a fast growing betting and online gaming company known worldover, who was the first to achieve a remote gaming device certificate in the Republic of Lithuania.
TonyBet Poker’s representative Warren Lush commented:
“The new gambling law created a lot of fuss in the Lithuanian poker community. The new regulations require every online gaming provider to apply for a licence, otherwise they’re considered illegal. Since the majority of the local players are following the global trends playing on the biggest poker sites, they’re very concerned with the legal situation and how it’s going to affect them. The local gambling authorities are already blocking illegal websites making it harder for the players to access them.
There are a lot of players in Lithuania who live off online poker and we wanted to provide them with the opportunity to play on a legal site. We are the first certified online poker provider in the country and it seems that it’s going to stay that way at least for a while as no other operator has yet started the process.”
It’s possible that this banning decision could set a legal precedent in other countries who are considering similar blacklisting actions against unlicensed betting entities. Companies like TonyBet who go the legal route could have a lot of success but only time will tell.