Olympic Casino should have stopped Stepukonis from gambling – body

  • 2024-02-09
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Virginijus Dauksys, head of Lithuania's Gaming Control Authority, says the watchdog is currently checking whether Olympic Casino Group Baltija complied with all the requirements as Sarunas Stepukonis, a former partner at BaltCap Infrastructure Fund, is suspected of having gambled away at least 27 million euros at casinos. 

Dauksys acknowledges that Stepukonis' gambling was "potentially problematic" and that Olympic Casino should have stopped it. 

He pointed out that the gambling watchdog issued guidelines for 2021 and 2023 to be followed by gambling operators in cases of problem gambling, but they are only of a recommendatory nature. 

"Unfortunately, they are only recommendations. They define a lot of mechanisms on what a gambling operator should do. If he gambled on such huge amounts, they should have come into contact with the gambler and prevent the gambling," Dauksys said. "Olympic's CEO has said that they followed all the rules, so we will look into that too."

For his part, Rolandas Kiskis, head of the Financial Crime Investigation Service, says his service has not received a single report of suspicious transactions from Olympic Casino, and, in general, the service has received between three and five such reports from gambling companies over the last three years.

He did not say how much money Stepukonis may have gambled away, nor did he comment on whether there might have been other ways the money was embezzled.

"Hypothetically, we can come up with a lot of versions here and we are checking them, I will certainly not speculate," Kiskis said.

According to the FCIS, if a gambling organizer failed to comply with the anti-money laundering requirements and prevent such operations, it could face a fine of up to 1.1 million euros.

Asked whether the authorities are looking into the possibility that the gambling company was not only a service provider but also participated in the money laundering scheme, Kiskis said that "this possibility is also being assessed".

Commenting on Olympic Casino's role in this story, he said that Stepukonis is the only suspect in this case yet. 

Dauksys says the FCIS will be informed after the investigation and if any suspicions about Olympic Casino emerge.