TOPSport UAB, a leading Lithuanian sportsbook, got in trouble with the country’s Gambling Supervisory Authority. The operator received a warning for violating regulations by engaging in illegal advertising, although the regulator has so far withheld from issuing a fine. The advent of the FIFA World Cup has caused several other similar incidents in the Baltic country as sportsbooks attempt to attract new players.
The Operator Tried to Circumvent Marketing Restrictions
TOPSport drew the attention of the Lithuanian regulator after the brand’s banners appeared on Topikas.lt. The website is a free platform for predicting the results of the World Cup 2022, where players can create custom leagues and compete to offer the most accurate predictions.
Further investigation revealed that TOPSport was the primary sponsor of Topikas, and many of the website’s features closely mimicked the sportsbook’s platform. Combined with the prominent banners, which as of the writing of this article, are still present on the web page, the Authority deemed TOPSport in violation of the country’s regulations.
Gambling advertisements have been outlawed in Lithuania since July 2021, and the regulator has strictly enforced this policy. The organization commented on the case, reminding that any form of content that could encourage gambling was strictly prohibited.
We recommend media representatives… to stop advertising the game and remove all information related to it.
The current incident is not TOPSport’s first brush with the Lithuanian regulator. In September, the sportsbook received a €15,000 fine for failing to implement the necessary CCTV equipment at two retail venues. Earlier in the year, the operator again got fined regarding gambling promotions.
Advertising Violations Are the Most Common
Other companies also recently felt the Authority’s ire. Only a few days ago, Olympic Casino had to pay a $25,700 fine for trying to circumvent advertisement restrictions. The regulator intervened after discovering the operator was including surreptitious gambling marketing in its sports broadcast ads.
Earlier in August, Tete-a-Tete Casino and Betsafe also ran afoul of regulations. Tete-a-Tete allegedly allowed players outside the country to bet via its website, which is strictly forbidden. Betsafe violated marketing restrictions by emailing 10,000 customers a newsletter promoting their newest games. Both companies received fines.
Lithuania Is Notorious for Its Harsh Regulations
Lithuania’s Gambling Supervisory Authority has an impressive track record in enforcing regulations, unafraid to go after even the top players in the market should they step out of line, as evidenced by the TOPSport cases. The operator is the country’s first and largest betting agency, commanding a considerable market share. However, that seems to have only increased the Authority’s scrutiny.
A strong and effective regulator is the foundation of a safe gaming environment, and the Gambling Supervisory Authority appears to be doing a stellar job in that regard. Its rulings are final and cannot be appealed, meaning that gambling operators in the country cannot allow themselves to step out of line despite harsh restrictions.
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