Online gambling regulation problems in Lithuania and the European Union
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In many European countries, the market for gambling has grown quite significantly in the last decade. This has mainly been online gambling and the resulting opportunity to play internationally. In Lithuania, online gambling is prohibited; however, it is rapidly gaining popularity and is available for Lithuanian players. Thus, it is clear that gambling services in Lithuania are not regulated enough. In the first part of the article, a brief overview of the legislation regulating gambling activities in Lithuania is given. The second part of the article deals with an analysis of the access of Lithuanian players to online gambling; attention is drawn to the problem of taxation—international online gambling companies do not pay taxes to the Lithuanian budget. The second part also includes a discussion of online gambling regulatory alternatives, their positive and negative aspects. In the third part of the article, the author analyses how online gambling activity is regulated in other European Union (EU) countries. The author notes that the gaming market regulatory framework differs among the EU Member States. Attention is drawn to the fact that gambling throughout the EU is regulated at the national level and not by the European Community legislation. The fourth part of the article summarizes the case-law of the European Court of Justice on online gambling restrictions in individual countries. The European Court of Justice has examined a number of cases in which the legality of gambling restrictions was questioned. Upon entering the EU, the Member States agree to provide free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the EU Member States, but, as the European Court of Justice has ruled, the Member States may restrict cross-border gambling activity provisions in their country. Thus, in this section, the author analyses the grounds on which such restrictions must be justified.
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