Seimas urges vote to set new Lithuanian lottery purchase age

Lithuanian lottery
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The Budget and Finance Committee of Lithuania’s Seimas (Parliamentary Assembly) has proposed new standards on lottery play and advertising for the Baltic state.

The legislative power in Lithuania lies with the Seimas, and the Committee has completed a draft decree which includes a recommendation to raise the minimum age of purchase of lottery tickets.

Currently, the minimum age to buy a lottery ticket is 16 years of age, but the Seimas has called for a vote in parliament to increase it to 18 years of age.

If approved, Lithuania’s government will enforce a new lottery age-restriction from January 1, 2023.

The decree has further ordered Olifėja, Lithuania’s state-sanctioned operator, to display age-range notifications and safer gambling warnings across its weekly lottery draws of Teleloto, Vikinglotto, Eurojackpot and further Instant-win games.

Olifėja serves as Lithuania’s national lottery steward, charged with raising funds for the National Olympic Committee, and its business activities are monitored by the Lithuanian Gaming Control Authority.

Since 2020, the successive Lithuanian governments of Prime Ministers Saulius Skvernelis and Ingrida Šimonytė have chosen to amend the laws of the 2016 Gambling Act.

Last year, the government ordered the Gaming Control Authority to ban all licensed operators from promoting any form of gambling incentive (including bonuses, discounts and reward programmes).

Furthermore, the government granted the Gaming Control Authority direct powers to IP-block unlicensed operators and to issued bigger fines on non-compliant operators, changes that were sanctioned as a COVID-19 civic protection measure. 

As stands, Lithuania carries amongst the strictest age laws for gambling in Europe, in which players must be at least 21 years of age to enter a gambling venue.

In November 2021, the Lithuanian government passed a bill that requires lottery organisations to pay 13% tax on each lottery ticket sold.

The rationale behind the bill was to help raise funds for sport in the country, particularly in the lead up to the 2022 World Athletic Championships and the 2024 Olympics.