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Betsafe breaches Lithuanian Gambling Laws but escapes penalty

The Lithuanian Gambling Supervision Authority has recently revealed that Betsafe operator Lošimų Strateginė Grupė violated several sections of the Gambling Law of the Republic of Lithuania. However, the violations were deemed minor after the conclusion of the investigation. The Lithuanian Gambling Authority also stated that the operator cooperated in all investigations in good faith by providing explanations and data. Lošimų Strateginė Grupė was let off without a sanction because this was the company’s first violation of this nature.

A hot air balloon over the city of Vilnius

Betsafe escapes sanctions in Lithuania
©Igor Gubaidulin/Unsplash

The Lithuanian Gambling Supervision Authority is an institution under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania responsible for supervising and controlling gambling activities in the country. The iGaming watchdog has been busy over the past few months, handing out fines, conducting investigations, and issuing warnings to operators to uphold the gambling laws in Lithuania. The authority oversees and regulates the entire gambling industry, including licensing, compliance, and enforcement of gambling laws and regulations. It operates under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania. It works to ensure the integrity of gambling operators in the country, protect consumers, prevent money laundering, and combat illegal gambling. It also collaborates with other institutions, such as the Bank of Lithuania’s Financial Services and Markets Supervision Department, which oversees financial market participants. It controls and supervises the organization of lotteries in the country. The Gaming Control Authority, a division of the Ministry of Finance, is responsible for governing the gambling industry and issuing gambling licenses in Lithuania. It also has the power to put sanctions or levy fines on any iGaming operator found in violation of its laws.

Recently, the Lithuanian regulator has been kept busy by the nation’s gambling market activity. Earlier this month, a gambling operator, Baltic Bet, breached the gambling promotion laws. The Gaming Control Authority reprimanded the operator with a €16,705 fine for violating Article 10, Paragraph 19 of the Lithuanian Gambling Law. Another gambling operator, Top Sport, has been fined at least four times in the past few months for various breaches of the Lithuanian Gambling Law. In May 2023, the Lithuanian regulator fined Top Sport €25,000 for allowing underage individuals in the slot machine area and not displaying gambling addiction warnings on its machines. After further investigations, the regulator slapped another €15,000 fine on Top Sport in June for improper mobile betting practices. Investigations showed that the operator’s Android mobile app automatically repeated a bet after the user had placed bets on live roulette table games, even when the phone was locked. Top Sport had to pay another €15,000 fine for allowing deposits via another person’s debit card.

The Gaming Control Authority carried out an unscheduled inspection at Amber Gaming recently. The result found that a woman had transferred her login data to a third person and was no longer gambling herself. However, the operator dodged the fine, as they took the necessary steps to contact the registered user multiple times and complied with the control authority’s inspection requirements. However, the operator did not walk away scot-free in last month’s verdict, where it violated the country’s gambling promotion ban. The brand behind the 7Bet casino, Amber Gaming, was fined €6,789 for publishing content that included promotional material strictly banned by the 2021 ban on gambling promotion. The Lithuanian Gaming Control Authority under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania issued a ban on gambling promotional activities last year. It limits the operators’ use of advertisements to promote gambling activity in the country. The ban prohibits promotional special events, bonuses, discounts, and gifts and forbids anything incentivizing gambling. The Lithuanian Gambling Authority found Amber Gaming guilty of encouraging consumers to gamble through content published on its website on October 13, November 4, and February 4. The regulator fined the operator and issued a stern warning stating that further breaches could lead to a license suspension.

Betsafe escapes sanction

Betsson-owned Betsafe, which operates as the Lošimų Strateginė Grupė UAB in Lithuania, was found in violation of the Lithuanian Gambling Law recently. The statement issued by the Lithuanian regulator revealed that Lošimų Strateginė Grupė UAB was offering the game Sic Bo by Ezugi without holding permission to provide that particular game. Betsafe did not have the required certificate for the game, which violated Article 16, Part 5, and Part 5,1 of the Gambling Law of Lithuania. The Sic Bo dice game also does not comply with the country’s gambling requirements. In addition, the Lithuanian regulator also discovered that Betsafe had violated another section of the Gambling Law by paying out gambling winnings to a user who played that game.

However, Betsafe was lucky as the investigations carried out by the Lithuanian Supervision Service found the violations to be minor. The operator escaped with a warning but will face a sanction in case of further breaches. However, the gambling authority admitted that Betsafe was cooperative in its investigations. Further investigations revealed that the operator did not receive income or other material benefits directly due to the violations, and neither did it cause any damage to the gamblers involved. The Lithuanian regulator also stated that it discovered no aggravating circumstances. Therefore, the violations by Betsafe were not considered severe. The authority decided against imposing sanctions on the operator and only issued a warning.

Lithuanian Gambling Authority issues another warning to Top Sport

Top Sport has been under the Lithuanian Supervision Service’s radar for a while now. It has been slapped with three consecutive fines in recent months for various violations of the Lithuanian Gambling Law. On July 25, 2023, the Gaming Control Authority issued another warning to the iGaming operator for failing to have adequate internal control measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. The statement by the authority revealed that the operator was in direct violation of Article 29, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. The warning complied with Article 36, Part 1, Point 1 of the PPTFPĮ.

The warning came after the Lithuanian regulator conducted a scheduled inspection of the gambling operator. The investigation was in the area of Category B slot machine salons. The control authority found that the operator’s procedures for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing did not include internal control procedures related to risk assessment and management, organization of monitoring of business relations, and organization of employee training. Though Top Sport has been fined on several occasions in the recent past, this time, the authority stated that after evaluating all circumstances related to the violations, it had decided to issue a warning.

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Author: James Richardson