Lithuanian operators stop advertising in lockdown

14 April 2020

The Lithuanian Gambling Business Association and National Gambling and Games Business Association have asked their members to stop advertising online gambling during the country's national lockdown caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Lithuanian Gambling Authority said the operator associations took action after members did not take steps to limit advertsing as suggested during the lockdown.

The regulator explained that it sent a letter to operators on 1 April, including recommendations prepared by the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA) and aimed at encouraging responsible advertising.

“The Gaming Authority points out that advertising is one of the stimulating factors for people with gambling problems,” the Authority said. “Advertising can encourage these people to gamble, especially during quarantine.”

However, the regulator said that these recommendations were not taken into account. Instead, it noted that gambling advertisements online took up more space on web pages than before.

Among the sites found to have features increased advertising were basketball news sites Basketnews.lt, which includes advertisements for Olympic Entertainment Group's OlyBet and krepsinis.net, which includes advertisements for Betsson's Betsafe brand.

Although the regulator's its efforts to contact those stepping up their level of advertisements were ignored, the Lithuanian Gambling Business Association and National Gambling and Games Business Association both opted on 8 April to suspend all remote gambling advertising.

Last week, Lithuania's neighbour Latvia banned all online gambling during its own lockdown, as part of the country’s emergency coronavirus (Covid-19) bill.

The bill - signed by the country’s president, Egils Levits, on 22 March - initially left the status of online gambling unclear, but on 6 April, the country's gambling regulator recieved clarification that all online licences were to be suspended.