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Lithuania says online gambling operators who evade blacklist are smugglers

TAGs: blacklist, Lithuania

lithuania-online-gambling-smugglersLithuania’s gaming regulator has equated attempts to evade the country’s online gambling blacklist with illegal smuggling.

In January, Lithuania’s Gaming Control Authority (GCA) published its inaugural list of gambling sites deemed to be illegally serving the Lithuanian market. On Thursday, the GCA expanded this list and publicly chided operators for attempting to evade the blacklist by altering their domain names.

Joining original blacklist members Betway, TrioBet, Unibet and William Hill are multiple domains associated with PokerStars, MarathonBet, Pinnacle Sports, 188Bet and NordicBet (the latter brand a Betsson offshoot, as is TrioBet).

In a message accompanying the update, the GCA said it had found that some of the original blacklisted operators had been modifying their domains to “circumvent” the GCA’s legally binding IP-blocking orders to local internet service providers.

Not sparing the hyperbole, the GCA said it viewed such circumvention as “unethical and unfair behavior which casts a shadow” over Lithuania’s regulated gaming market. Such activity “demonstrates failure to respect national regulation and infringes legal acts.”

GCA Director Virdzhiniyus Dauksys (pictured right) called it “surprising that certain worldwide companies, reluctant to legalize their activity, are blatantly violating” Lithuania’s laws. Dauksys likened domain tweaks to “smuggling activity” and vowed that the GCA would take “all means available” to bring these digital smugglers to justice.

Lithuania unveiled its new online gambling licensing regime on Jan. 1. To date, the GCA has issued only four online licenses to Olympic Casino Group, Orakulas, Top Sport and TonyBet.

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