Gambling, casinos, slot halls and online casinos in Lithuania
Casinos and arcades started to appear after Lithuania gained its independence in 1990. In 2001, gambling was legalized and regulated. Amended Gambling Act started to regulate online gambling in 2016.
According to market research held by Vilmorus, 10% of Lithuanian population gamble regularly and 13% has tried gambling. The survey also revealed that gambling in the country has almost doubled since online gambling became legitimate. The total revenue from online gambling operators amounted to nearly EUR 17.5 million in the first half of 2019 (an increase by almost 41% compared to 2018). On average, up to EUR 20 is spent on a gambling venue or online gambling per visit.
Gambling also plays an important role in the Lithuanian economy. According to the Gaming Control Authority, gambling and lottery organizers paid over EUR 17 million in lottery and gambling tax to the state budget in 2018. Moreover, the organizers of large lotteries in 2018 contributed more than EUR 8 million to charity and support.
At the end of the first half of 2019, there were 18 casinos, 200 slot machine halls, and 146 betting offices operating in Lithuania.
The Gambling Act 2001 regulates gambling in Lithuania. The Gambling Act was later amended and supplemented. Licenses for organizing gambling are issued by the Gaming Control Authority (https://lpt.lrv.lt/). The Gaming Control Authority, set up in 2001 under the Ministry of Finance, supervises the activities of gambling operators in Lithuania and carries out control in the area of gambling. After obtaining licenses for organizing gambling activities, companies also need permits from the Gaming Control Authority to open casinos and slot halls as well as to organize online gambling.
Land Based Gambling
Gambling venues are not organized in residential houses, school establishments, health care and cultural establishments, credit and financial institutions, state and municipal institutions. Only catering, sale of drinks, concert activity and currency exchange are allowed in the premises where gambling is offered. People under 18 are not allowed to gamble. The minimum gambling age in casinos is 21.
The law distinguishes casinos, where table games and gaming by category A machines (machines with unlimited winnings, the maximum single winning is not limited) and machine halls, where gaming by category B machines is offered (machines with limited winnings, the maximum amount of a stake is EUR 0.5, the maximum winning per game cannot exceed the stake by more than 200 times). The winnings of category A machines comprise at least 90% of the total amount of stakes, of category B machines – at least 80 % of the total amount of stakes. Winnings are paid out in cash immediately (if the winnings do not exceed EUR 30,000) or within 24 hours (if the winnings exceed EUR 30,000).
Under the gambling regulation, even the smallest casino in Lithuania must be equipped with at least three gaming tables, including at least one roulette table, and at least 30 machines of category A (https://lpt.lrv.lt/en/legal-information/gaming-law-of-the-republic-of-lithuania).
Over 15 land-based operators are active in Lithuania . Most casinos are located in major cities. People under 21 cannot enter a casino. Visitors carrying weapons are also prohibited from entering. Casinos verify their visitors’ identity and register them. Most casinos are open 24/7. Casinos register players who exchange cash for tokens, make a stake or win the amount over EUR 1,000.
There are about 200 slot halls across Lithuania which often call themselves ‘casinos’. They create a cozy and warm environment and offer pleasant gaming atmosphere. Slot halls feature a number of slot machines in several versions including video slots. A bar is available for the players. The opening hours vary in different slot halls, but most of them are usually open 24/7.
Amendments to the Gambling Act to regulate online gambling for the first time came into force on January 1, 2016. Lithuanian authorities began blacklisting websites offering illegal online gambling to protect the regulated domestic market. There is a general ban on advertising gambling services in Lithuania.
According to the Gaming Control Authority, seven operators currently provide remote gambling services in Lithuania, offering casino games, slots, sports betting and lotteries.