A new proposal has been presented to Lithuania’s parliament, the Seimas, with the intention of significantly increasing the minimum age for gambling from 18 to 21. The proposal, forming a part of the Seimas’ 2024 agenda, aims to enforce more stringent regulations within the gambling industry and is scheduled for ministerial voting later this year, as reported by SBC News.

If enacted, the proposed measure will apply to both traditional brick-and-mortar gambling venues and digital gambling platforms. It outlines stringent restrictions, prohibiting individuals under 21 from entering gambling establishments, wagering money, and participating in online gambling activities.

The initiative to elevate the gambling age was spearheaded by Jurgita Sejonienė, a member of Lithuania’s Homeland Union Party. Sejonienė emphasized aligning the age limit adjustment with the ongoing reforms in Lithuania’s gambling landscape, characterized by the introduction of stricter laws governing gambling activities.

The proposal swiftly advanced through an initial approval phase, receiving unanimous support. The Seimas is set to deliberate further on these changes and make a definitive decision by July 2024.

Presently, Lithuania permits individuals aged 18 and above to participate in gambling activities, although those under 21 are barred from entering and engaging in casino gambling. With the proposed adjustments, individuals under the age of 21 will also be restricted from online gambling, limiting real-money gaming to those above the age threshold. 

However, the country’s national lottery maintains its age limit at 18 years. Nonetheless, recent enhancements in ID verification protocols for lottery retailers underscore Lithuania’s concerted efforts to ensure strict adherence to age restrictions for participants. 

In a concurrent move towards more stringent oversight, Lithuania has introduced augmented gambling licensing fees, effective July 27, 2023. This measure reflects the country’s resolve to implement a strong regulatory framework governing gambling practices within its borders. 

This push for heightened regulation comes in the wake of previous incidents of non-compliance. Notably, TopSport faced penalties for breaching self-exclusion rules, allowing an excluded individual to participate in gambling activities. The operator incurred a fine of $27,000, signaling the country’s firm stance on adherence to regulatory norms.

As the legislative process continues, the proposed changes aim to fortify Lithuania’s gambling laws, aligning with the country’s commitment to fostering responsible gambling practices and enhancing consumer protection within the industry.

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