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Gambling as good as gold

  • 2003-07-10
  • Baltic News Service
VILNIUS

Revenues on gambling business boosted Lithuania's coffers by 3.7 million litas (1.1 million euros) in the first six months of the year.
"Revenues should come to approximately 7 million litas this year, which fits perfectly into our forecasts," Ceslovas Blazys, the state gambling control commission's chairman, said.
Next year budget revenues on gambling business are expected to rise to 10 million litas.
Meanwhile, gambling companies reported receipts of 26.9 million litas in the first quarter, with winnings totaling 19.8 million litas.
Thus, gamblers lost 7 million in the first three months of this year.
Last year, the first year the country's gambling law went into effect, state receipts on gambling operations comprised nearly 2.6 million litas, with gamblers leaving behind approximately 12 million litas at gambling facilities.
Currently Lithuania has eight casinos and 15 slot machine centers, 69 gambling tables and 644 slot machines of limited and unlimited jackpot.
In addition, permits for opening 34 betting centers have been issued.
The Law on Gambling came into effect on July 1, 2001, whereas the first gambling facilities opened the door to customers in February 2002.
Also, under new amendments to the country's gaming law, the commission announced that it would have to make inquiries about any company seeking a license for gambling operations not only to the State Security Department, Special Investigation Service and Police Department, but also to the Financial Crime Investigation Service.
Some 31 parliamentarians voted in favor of the amendments, and seven abstained from voting.
Blazys said the new procedure would not delay the license issuing process, as the Financial Crime Investigation Service has already been providing the regulatory authority with information about the origin of financial resources of potential gambling operators.
The amended law also sets a five-year term of office for the state gaming control commission.
The provision that one person cannot hold a seat on the commission for more than two terms in a row was also added to the law.