Lithuania Lawmakers Debate Expanding Online Gaming Market

Posted on: September 28, 2021, 12:34h. 

Last updated on: September 28, 2021, 05:39h.

Lithuania is debating whether to move forward with expanding its legal online gaming industry by way of a new fully remote permit.

Casino Olympic Lithuania iGaming online gambling
Casino Olympic in Vilnius is seen. While COVID-19 kept streets barren in Lithuania during much of 2020, online casinos experienced increased play. That has led to lawmakers in the European nation considering a further expansion of online gaming. (Image: Casino Olympic)

The European nation’s legislature — the 141-member Seimas — has issued its early support of creating new gaming privileges for operations that would be conducted exclusively online. Currently, Lithuanian internet gaming permits are only available to entities that are licensed and running a brick-and-mortar casino in the Baltic state.

Lithuania is presently home to dozens of small boutique casinos, many of which are found inside hotels. Slot machines, table games, and sports betting are all legal gambling formats.

The Olympic casino brand reigns supreme in Lithuania. The gaming operator has more than a dozen casinos throughout the country in six cities, including Vilnius, Kaunas, and Klaipeda.

No Strings Attached

iGaming Business reports that present law in Lithuania governing gaming requires remote gambling permits to be tethered to a land-based casino. It’s a regulatory arrangement that resembles legal iGaming markets in the US, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The online gaming news site says the amendments that received the first reading in the Seimas and subsequent first vote of approval would establish fully remote online gambling licenses. The iGaming concessions would cost €1 million (US$1.17 million), plus an additional cost depending on the operations the application is seeking.

For interactive slot machines only, an iGaming firm would need to pay €300,000 in addition to the €1 million fare. For online bingo, the fee drops to €100,000. For all iGaming rights, the total runs up to €500,000.

Applicants must be financially sound when applying for an iGaming permit. The Lithuania gaming amendments require that an online gaming applicant have at least €1.2 million in the capital on hand.

Before an iGaming platform can seek one of the three fully online licenses, Lithuania’s Seimas will need to read the amendments for a second time and realize a second vote with majority support. If that happens, the expanded internet gaming market will be ratified.

Tax Generator

Financial projections from the Seimas concluded that the online gaming permits being considered would result in an additional €8 million in new tax revenue annually. The proposed amendments to Lithuania’s gaming law allocates some of the new money for addiction prevention services.

Lithuania is considered a wealthy country. The World Bank reports that the country’s average gross domestic product per capita in 2020 was roughly $20,000. That’s nearly double the world GDP per capita average.

Lithuania, like many other countries, experienced a decline in tax revenue due to COVID-19. The country reported earlier this year that its tax receipts plunged more than $200 million during its latest fiscal year, which ended in March.

Lithuania’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is on pace with the United States. The latest health data out of the European country reveals that approximately 60 percent of Lithuanians are currently fully vaccinated, and another four percent are partially vaccinated.