Lithuania’s government has recently approved a blanket ban on gambling advertising that is set to come into effect on July 1.
On Thursday, Lithuanian lawmakers adopted amendments to the country’s Law on Gambling by overwhelming 105 yes votes, with 14 abstentions.
Under these amendments, locally licensed gambling operators will no longer be able to advertise any casino and betting products via special events and promotional campaigns, test games, distribution of gambling chips, different gifts and discounts.
The gambling advertising ban covers both the retail and online sectors of the Baltic nation’s regulated gambling industry.
As mentioned above, the new advertising regime is set to take effect at the start of July. While the recent amendments will introduce an outright ban, it should be noted that gambling products are currently promoted in the country with certain limitations.
For instance, operators are prohibited from offering players gifts to encourage them to gamble. In addition, gambling activities can only be conducted at licensed brick-and-mortar venues and via licensed websites.
And since July 2020, companies are required to display warnings about the risks associated with gaming and betting in all of their ads.
Responsible Gambling Effort
The new advertising restrictions were adopted as part of Lithuanian lawmakers’ efforts to secure a safer gambling environment for residents of the country.
The blanket ban is set to be introduced after a survey carried out by Lithuania’s Gaming Control Authority in November 2020 showed strong support for a move of this kind. About 76% of all 1,001 survey respondents said gambling advertising should at least be limited, while 52% said an outright ban was a necessary move.
In April 2020, locally licensed operators agreed to cease advertising their products and services during the nation’s first coronavirus-forced knockdown.
Ahead of the enforcement of the new rules, Lithuania Gaming Control Authority director Virginijus Dauksys has revealed that the regulator has received many complaints about gambling operators failing to conform to current rules and using different channels to actively promote their products.
The looming ban has its opponents, as well. Mantas Zakarka, a representative of the country’s National Gambling and Gaming Business Association, has warned that the introduction of such a ban would make the local market less attractive for potential new entries and would only benefit the black market.
Lithuania is not the only country implementing a complete ban on casino and betting ads. A few years ago, Italy adopted similar comprehensive restrictions, while Sweden, which Lithuania shares a maritime border with, is currently mulling introducing a new regime that would fully limit all forms of gambling advertising.
Source: Lithuania’s parlt bans promotion of gambling, Baltic Times, May 20, 2021
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