After issuing a letter on April 1 and advising gambling operators to advertise responsibly, the Lithuanian Gambling Authority has now called for the complete suspension of gambling ads in the country while the COVID-19 lockdown lasts.
Lithuania Reacts to Operators Not Responding to Calls to Limit Advertisement
After Latvia brought its online gambling to a halt, Lithuania has become the next Baltic country to step up its efforts against online gambling ads during the pandemic.
The Lithuanian Gambling Business Association and National Gambling and Games Business Association have asked members to discontinue all online gambling advertisement during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
The measures have been occasioned by the lack of compliance on the part of operators, as requested by the country’s regulator, the Lithuanian Gambling Authority (LGA), to limit the scope and scale of ads published online lest they lead to higher incidence of problem gambling while the lockdown lasts.
The LGA previously sent a letter to operators on April 1, issuing recommendations to opt for responsible advertisement practices. The measures were also worked on by the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA), giving them an extra significance and direction.
“The Gaming Authority points out that advertising is one of the stimulating factors for people with gambling problems. Advertising can encourage these people to gamble, especially during quarantine.”Lithuanian Gambling Aurhotiry
However, many operators failed to comply with the advice which has now resulted in the full temporary suspension of advertisement. LGA’s objection was not only against the manner of advertisement, but also against a tangible increase in the volumes, the regulator explained.
The watchdog said that popular websites, such as Basketnews.lt have been covered with various ads for Olympic entertainment Group’s namesake OlyBet.
Similarly, Betsafe, a brand owned by Betsson, bought advertisement space on krepsinis.net, another high-traffic website in Lithuania.
Suspending Online Gambling and Advertisement Part of the COVID-19 Response
From the time of introducing the lockdown in Europe and around the world, regulators have fallen behind the idea of limiting or even suspending online gambling completely. In the UK, there have been various proposals to either limit the maximum bet or impose strict curbs.
Organizations such as the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) have acknowledged the need to act quickly and protect vulnerable players staying at home during the lockdown, but also praised the economic measures undertaken by the UK government.
Spain has suspended all online gambling advertisement, bar in the small hours of the night when presumably very few people are watching.
Sweden is also considering suspending online gambling, as the country’s laxer approach to the coronavirus pandemic has already yielded 1,000 victims and new curbs have been imposed by the national government.