After being penalized for the first time this year in February, iGaming operator Amber Gaming steered clear of controversy in Lithuania for seven months before landing in trouble again in September. Amber Gaming has been fined four times between September and October this year for different violations. The Lithuanian Gambling Authority issued the latest fine worth €12,557 after a user’s gambling account was closed after a bleak verification process that failed to comply with the Gambling Law of the Republic of Lithuania (GAM).
The online gambling market in Lithuania has grown significantly in recent years, with several online gambling products becoming the primary source of Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) for local operators. The Lithuanian government has been trying to simplify the licensing system for gambling operators, making it easier for new operators to acquire a dedicated online gambling permit. The nation’s gambling market has performed well in 2023 so far, with gambling revenue increasing by 26.1 percent in the first quarter of the year and 21.5 percent in H1 2023, driven by growth in both the online and land-based segments. The online gambling segment has been robust, with revenue from remote gambling increasing by 36 percent in Q1 2023 compared to Q1 2022. Most of this revenue came from Category A online slots, which generated a little over €23 million in revenue from player bets worth almost €307 million. The Lithuanian Gambling Authority enforces strict measures to ensure player safety and fight harmful gambling. It also monitors the market vigilantly to ensure GAM compliance from licensed operators.
The Lithuanian government has also been quite cooperative with the regulator to prevent problem gambling and other related issues. Overall, the Lithuanian online gambling market presents significant opportunities for growth, but regulatory frameworks must be established to ensure that customers are protected and the industry operates responsibly and transparently. However, the regulator is forced to conduct many planned and unplanned inspections of licensed operators after a user raises a concern. The Lithuanian Gambling Authority has conducted a plethora of investigations to date and detected GAM violations on multiple occasions, after which the regulator has been forced to issue fines for non-compliance. While other operators have functioned well, there are two who have constantly been under the Lithuanian regulator’s spotlight – Amber Gaming and Top Sport. Both of these companies have been fined on multiple occasions this year, with the former becoming the latest one to be slapped with a significant fine for violating the guidelines for the fifth time this year.
In February earlier this year, a Lithuania-based individual raised a complaint to the regulator against Amber Gaming. The report was submitted because the operator closed the individual’s gambling account on its platform after an allegedly feeble verification check. The Lithuanian Gambling Authority decided to commence an unscheduled inspection of Amber Gaming to check if the operator’s verification check was in compliance with the GAM or not. After the inspection, it was confirmed that the owner of the account never submitted the request to close the account, and a proper verification process could have prevented this. Since the non-compliance violated Article 18, Part 1 of the GAM, the regulator was forced to issue a fine of €12,557 to Amber Gaming. This is the second time the operator has committed the same violation this year. Including the recent penalty, the operator has paid a little over €61,000 in fines to the Lithuanian Gambling Authority this year. Repeated violations could lead to a permit suspension, which is why Amber Gaming could be on thin ice now.
Amber Gaming’s Previous Penalties This Year
The first fine that was imposed on Amber Gaming this year came in February. The operator sent two emails to existing users of its gambling services for password reminders or creation. These emails comprised active links to its betting domain (https://7bet.lt/). According to the regulator, the link drew the recipients’ attention and encouraged them to visit the website, turning it into a promotional email. Since the promotion of gambling activities is banned in Lithuania, the two emails violated Article 10, Paragraph 19 of the GAM, and a fine of €6,000 was imposed on the operator.
The second fine of the year came seven months after the first. On this occasion, Article 18, Part 1 of the GAM was violated after Amber Gaming limited the offer of bets to one of their users without a valid reason in May this year. The user then raised a complaint about the issue, and after a thorough inspection, the regulator found Amber Gaming guilty and fined the company €15,000 last month. The third and fourth penalties came on the same day earlier this month. A fine worth €12,557 was imposed after Amber Gaming closed a user’s account using the same weak verification method in April. Another fine worth €15,000 was issued for implementing illegal restrictions on the number of bets placed by a user in April.
Top Sport Has Been Penalized Seven Times This Year
While Amber Gaming has caught the attention of the Lithuanian Gambling Authority on multiple occasions this year, it is still not the operator that has received the most fines. The local iGaming and online sports betting operator has been penalized on seven occasions this year for violating several different sections of the GAM. As a result, Top Sport has paid a total of €135,000 in fines this year so far and is being monitored strictly. The operator is quite popular in Lithuania alongside other renowned brands like OlyBet and TonyBet. However, that might not safeguard its license, which might get suspended if similar violations continue till the end of this year.
Last month, the local Lithuanian operator was issued a €25,000 fine for allowing gambling access to an individual who was registered on the self-exclusion register. In Lithuania, individuals can self-exclude themselves from all forms of gambling activity for a minimum of six months and a maximum of three years. This is helpful, especially for individuals who are showing harmful gambling traits. All licensed operators are required to keep updated with the nation’s self-exclusion register. Every time a player signs up, the credentials must be cross-checked. This is what Top Sport failed to do, and enabled a self-excluded individual to place bets on its platform on a couple of occasions, barely a month after the individual had voluntarily signed up for self-exclusion.
Have you enjoyed this article? Then share it with your friends.
Share on Pinterest