The Lithuanian parliament passed legislation that will require all gambling advertisements to contain warnings regarding issues related to gambling. This law becomes effective July 1 of this year.
The national legislature, the Vilnius Seimas, by an overwhelming majority passed the legislation during its first reading. This gives the Lithuanian Gaming Control Authority the responsibility for determining what content will contain the warning and requires them to set standards for how this determination will be made.
Mykolas Majauskas, one of the sponsors of the bill, explained: “Gambling is not an evil in itself, but as the sector develops, it is important to be able to control the risks involved and minimize the negative consequences.”
While wanting to provide a clear warning about gambling’s potential risks, Majauskas also wanted to make sure that the new law didn’t do anything to hamper the industry. “There is no need to jam poles into the spokes of the gaming market’s wheels in a way that would pull it off the road, but at least you need to attach reflectors.”
The Gambling Authority will now create a clear set of rules and make notes of what is working and where improvements are needed.
Majauskas explained, “We also expect a responsible and sensible approach to how these rules should be applied. That is, they would not apply, for example, to gambling branding on basketball players’ uniforms.”
The legislation helps Lithuania meet the same standards as many other European Union countries. While many are drawing huge revenues from the taxation from gambling, there is an ever-growing concern about the impact this industry is having in feeding addictions and causing many to suffer economic hardship.
“Other countries in the European Union have very similar problems, they say: first, we need to educate; secondly, we must help those who have problems; third, we need to help people who have loved ones who have gambling problems,” Majauskas said. “One of the basic tools for solving problems is public education, education through social advertising.”