Lithuanian igaming growth fails to offset land-based decline in 2020

Lithuania’s regulated gambling market saw revenue decline in 2020, despite a 47.1% jump in igaming revenue mitigating much of the country’s land-based struggles.


Total revenue across all verticals and channels declined 8.1% year-on-year to €103.5m (£90.7m/$124.4m), with the online advances accompanied by a 39.1% drop in land-based revenue to €43.9m.

With customers confined to their homes between March and May as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, igaming participating grew sharply.

Total customer spend surpassed $1bn, a 64.3% year-on-year increase, while total revenue grew to €59.6m.

Category A slots - with uncapped payouts and stakes - were the primary source of online revenue, after the product’s total almost doubled year-on-year to €29.4m.

Despite major sporting events being suspended between March and mid-May as a result of Covid-19, sports betting contributed the second largest share of any vertical.

Betting revenue was up 10.5% to €26.5m, on stakes of €444.1m, a 5.2% improvement on 2019.

Online table game revenue soared, albeit from a low base, to €1.9m, while revenue from Category B slots was up 47.4% to €1.2m.

After Covid-19 pandemic forced in-person facilities to shut their doors from 16 March to 17 May, Lithuania’s land-based market struggled, however.

Customer stakes across all products fell 39.5% below the prior year’s total, to €288.6m.

Category B slots - which limit stakes to €0.50 per spin and have win amounts capped at 200 times the original stake - made up the majority of revenue for the year, at €20.3m, down 37.9%

Table games followed, though again revenue fell, to €10.2m. Category A slot revenue - with uncapped stakes and winnings - dropped 36.1% to €7.8m.

Retail sports betting’s contribution, meanwhile was almost halved, to €5.7m. Not only did the sector face the Covid-19 shutdown, but also saw most major sporting events suspended as a result of the pandemic.

The country’s national lottery Olifėja also reported a year-on-year decline in revenue for 2020. Ticket sales fell 6.7% to €106.3m, and after payouts to players, this left revenue of €46.9m, down 5.9%.

The country's regulatory body, the Gambling Supervision Service within the Ministry of Finance, is preparing to tighten controls for the industry in the wake of allegations of gambling being used to launder money.

This will see licensees required to implement new KYC processes, while land-based venues must only allow registered customers to gamble.

Last month, the regulator also reported a year-on-year rise in people signing up for its self-exclusion register. By the end of 2020, 17,348 individuals had voluntarily blocked access to gambling.