Lithuanian & Ukrainian gambling regulators sign info-share deal
Despite the ongoing invasion of Russian forces, Ukraine is making efforts to ensure that its profitable private sectors are kept in line. The Lithuania Gaming Control Authority (GCA) and the Ukrainian Commission on the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (CRGL) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The partnership enables the two countries to make joint efforts towards lottery and gambling regulation to enable responsible growth in their respective markets.
According to the agreement, the two gambling regulators will implement policies to enable them to exchange vital information, some of which include gambling practices and approaches. Lithuania, and Ukraine would also come together to study the gaming industry on a global scale and exchange ideas on how to improve the industry, put in place the needed laws in their respective countries, and ensure that gaming operators follow through with them.
In addition to holding joint seminars, lectures, and hearings, the two bodies will share legal information like market regulation tactics. They will also share regulatory requirements for license applications and several more. They would hold exchange events for specialized staff from both organizations.
The gaming market in Lithuania is slightly older than the Ukrainian market; however, the two organizations are still changing. A short while ago, Lithuania approved some amendments that affected its gambling laws. The modification enabled the GCA to issue special licenses for gambling remotely, whereas such licenses could only be issued to land-based operations previously. The country also has strict rules concerning gambling advertisements and has already fined several operators who violated the rules by up to €25,000 (US$25.54m).
Lithuania happy with agreement
The MoU agreement was signed by Virginijus Daukšys, the director of Lithuania’s Supervision Service.
“We are ready to share with our Ukrainian colleagues our experience in areas where we already have considerable expertise and practice, such as in the field of problem gambling prevention, application of measures against entities providing illegal remote gambling services, and technical requirements for gambling devices,” he said.
Some of the aforementioned areas include knowing the measures to implement to curb illegal remote services and how to prevent gambling harm. Another is the technical devices required in the gambling industry.
Daukšys further revealed that the sector was pleased with the agreement with Ukraine and hoped it would “be mutually beneficial.” He also promised the country’s aid in helping Ukrainians as much as possible.
CRGL issued warning to Ukrainian casinos
The agreement was made merely days after the Commission on the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries reminded Ukrainian gambling operators that they were mandated to recognize the rules and wartime curfew measures and operate within them.
Ukrainian casinos were previously shut down due to Russia’s actions and the mandated curfew. Although some gambling establishments have begun operations across Ukraine, some have moved to western locations to avoid the ongoing conflict in the country. The reopened gaming venues started operating for longer hours, to the ire of the CRGL. The facilities were allowed to operate; however, like everyone else, they had to conform to the rules. They were also mandated to be responsible and avoid situations where Ukrainians had to enter dangerous positions. According to the curfew laws, Ukrainians were not to be out on the streets at specific periods during the day.
Prior to the Russian invasion, Ukraine was in the process of amending its gambling laws, and the changes would have included new taxing measures. The lawmakers could not reach a consensus before the war broke out, and its continued presence will only delay the decision.
Lithuania supports Ukraine
The gambling regulator in Lithuania recently revealed in a press release that they were not in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in any way. The statement said that the Lithuanian regulators backed Ukraine in its struggle for “its freedom, for life, and justice, for its future, and for its rights”.
The regulators also revealed their intention to work closely with the Ukrainian Commission on the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries, and the MoU clearly indicates that they would follow through with their promise.
Ukraine entered into a similar agreement with Merkur Gaming a year earlier, and the partnership has yielded results. Through it, Merkur shared its over 60 years’ worth of industry knowledge with Ukraine.
The CEO of Merkur, Athanasios ‘Sakis’ Isaakidis, described the MoU as a good opportunity for both parties. He also said working with Ukraine would enable a responsible gambling environment to thrive in the country and set up several opportunities.