Gambling is legal in Lithuania and has been since 2001. Sports betting, slot machines, bingo, casino games, lotteries and totalizators are all legal and may be offered by organizations with the proper licensing. The law of Lithuania also specifies where these games may be offered, namely gaming halls, bingo halls, and casinos.
Best Lithuania Betting Sites
Until recently, the law was unclear regarding online gambling. The 2001 Gaming Law makes no mention of the internet in its text. When viewed from one perspective, that could be seen as a passive acceptance of online gambling. It also created a situation in which it was illegal to organize online gaming, but not illegal for players to access foreign betting sites.
The government finally addressed online gaming starting in 2014 with a series of amendments that simultaneously opened the market for foreign operators and clamped down on unlicensed gaming websites. On January 1st, 2016, Lithuania opened its doors to prospective gambling sites seeking authorization. Stringent regulations have led to only a handful of betting websites actually earning licenses to date. These include:
- Top Sport
- Olympic Casino Group
- TonyBet Lithuania (Lošim? strategin?)
Where to Gamble Online in Lithuania
Now that Lithuania regulates online betting, you have a handful of options to play online at licensed and regulated websites. The four mentioned above are the only sites that are fully, unquestionably legal. All other betting websites that accept Lithuanian players are in violation of the law.
However, a number of Lithuanians continue to do business with foreign gaming sites in order to take advantage of better odds, different promotions, and personal preference reasons. There are no laws that make it a crime for you to play at unauthorized sites, but you should be aware that you have no legal recourse if a foreign operator fails to pay. Furthermore, a growing number of betting websites are blocked by internet service providers and are unable to do business with local banking institutions.
All of the betting sites on this page have methods in place to convert your Lithuanian lita deposit into Euros or British pounds. The lita isn’t a widely adopted currency for internet betting so in most cases, your deposit will be exchanged for a different currency during the course of your stay. When you withdraw again, your account balance will be converted back into litas.
Support of the Lithuanian language is rare due to Lithuanian not being a very widely-spoken language. You will find it occasionally, but English and Russian are much more common. If neither of those languages work for you, the next best option is to use Google translate during the signup process. After you have an account, you’ll find that gambling itself translates to all languages.
Is it Legal to Bet Online in Lithuania?
Yes. Current LIthuanian gambling laws make it completely legal to place bets online with licensed websites. The law is not clear on whether or not it is illegal to do business with offshore online gambling sites as a player, but it appears there is nothing to fear. Lithuania’s laws are directed at the industry rather than customers.
The Gaming Law
Gambling in Lithuania was legalized with the passage of the Gaming Law in 2001. This law laid the legal foundation for all real-world gambling in Lithuania. It specifies exactly which forms of betting are legal, who may organize games, and how licenses to organize games are issued.
Today, 15 operators have licenses to organize various games of gambling in Lithuania. There are dozens of small gaming halls and bingo halls along with a few actual casinos. At last count, there were nearly 300 gambling establishments of various sizes across the country.
Licenses are issued only to local companies that meet certain financial and capability standards. Companies must have sufficient capital and cannot be directed by individuals with criminal records. The law also goes into detail explaining how these organizations must operate. For example, it stipulates that table games must be monitored by continuous video surveillance, gaming establishments must include fire prevention systems, they must have a separate facility to exchanging chips for cash, and so on.
The Gaming Law delegates oversight of the industry to the Control Commission. It is the commission’s job to monitor gaming activities and ensure the protections of both players and gambling operators. As far as brick and mortar gambling goes, the Gaming Law has proven effective. It has so far managed to keep a tight reign over the industry without being overly restrictive.
Online Betting Laws in Lithuania
The current Gaming Law differentiates between three specific places where gaming may be offered. It defines a “gaming establishment” or casino as a place where table games (such as roulette, card games and dice games) and slot machines are organized. A “gaming machines hall” is a place where only slot machines are hosted. A “bingo hall” is a place where games of bingo are held for the general public.
These are the only three places where gambling may be organized according to the old law. The law worked fine for a while but its failure to address the internet led to problems down the line. With overseas operators happily taking Lithuanians, local operators unable to compete and the government lacking the authority to do anything about it, the gambling industry in Lithuania had been missing out on the large opportunity presented by online wagering.
When this page was originally published, Lithuania had no actual online gambling laws. Lawmakers instead applied the 2001 Gaming Law to the internet to limited effect. Government interpretation of the law made it illegal to organize internet betting but legal for citizens to participate in games organized by foreign betting websites.
Lawmakers were well aware of the limitations of the then-current Gaming Law and began discussions to amend the law in 2014. A draft bill submitted in 2014 marked the first serious effort by lawmakers to address the internet and provide legal clarity for both citizens and operators.
To summarize, the amendments specifically address “remote gambling” with the purpose of ensuring that the public is protected from the harmful of effects of gambling and that the industry remains free from the influence of crime. The amendments also make it possible for foreign operators based out of other EU nations to apply for online gaming licenses in Lithuania.
The bill established a new committee called the Gaming Control Authority to oversee all gambling in the country. Prospective operators must apply to the Authority for a license and meet specific requirements such as incorporating as a Lithuanian business and operating in conjunction with one of the local land-based casinos. These two requirements result in there only being room for a few licensed operators in total.
The Gaming Control Authority was also granted powers to crack down on unauthorized Lithuanian betting sites. Local financial institutions and internet service providers must cut off all access to blacklisted operators at the demand of the authority.
Potential Showdown with the EU?
Lithuania’s gambling laws have come under withering criticism since going into effect on January 1st, 2016. Operators from around the world have decried the licensing conditions which require licensed sites to establish an in-country office and operate a minimum number of brick-and-mortar casinos in Lithuania.
Unibet recently called the gaming laws “unenforceable” and said that it expects the EU to reject Lithuania’s gaming laws. This statement came after Lithuania’s top gaming regulator added Unibet to the blacklist of websites that local ISPs are required to block. Other major brands such as William Hill have also been added to the blacklist after refusing to conform to Lithuania’s gaming laws.
A showdown between Lithuanian lawmakers and the EU appears increasingly likely. Other EU member states have attempted to pass similar legislation (requiring a physical presence in the country) and have subsequently found themselves at odds with the EU.
Wes Burns has more than a decade’s worth of experience as a writer, researcher, and analyst in the legal online betting industry and is co-founder of OnlineBettingSites.com. Wes approaches his work from the viewpoint of players.