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Lithuanian survey reveals support for gambling ad ban

| By Daniel O'Boyle
A majority of Lithuanians support a ban on advertising gambling products - despite most saying they had not seen ads recently - according to a new survey commissioned by the country’s Gambling Supervisory Authority.

The survey of 1,001 adults found that in total, 12% of respondents said they gambled – excluding playing lotteries – in the past year, with men aged 29 or under the most likely group to gamble.

Meanwhile, 43% played lotteries, down from 51% in the previous year’s survey, with those aged 40-49 most likely to play.

Among those who gambled on non-lottery products, 47% said they did so at slot machine parlours, up from 33% in 2019. Meanwhile, 41% gambled online, compared to 38% in 2019, while 29% bet on sports, down one percentage point, and 26% went to casinos, down 6%.

Of the gamblers, 43% said they only gambled once a year or less. Meanwhile, 34% said they gambled at least once a month.

The average gambling spend per session was €20.

Among lottery players, 88% bought their tickets at retail outlets.

While just under half of respondents (47%) said they had seen gambling advertisements, the majority were of the opinion that new controls for marketing should be introduced.

Of those surveyed, 76% said gambling advertising should be reduced, while 52% said it should be banned outright, compared to only 22% who said that lottery advertisements should be banned.

However, 51% also agreed that the gambling industry was important for Lithuania’s economy.

A majority (56%) also supported raising the maximum age to buy a lottery ticket from 16 to 18.

The survey also found that 74% of respondents recognised that gambling can be addictive, while 68% said they were familiar with retail self-exclusion tools. In addition, 53% said that advertisements about the potential dangers of gambling were important.

Furthermore, 60% said they knew what the Gambling Supervisory Authority does, but the number who said they had never heard of it increased.

In August, the Gambling Supervisory Authority reported that operators brought in revenue of €43.8m (£4.0m/$5.2m), down 15.9%, in the first half of 2020, as the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic led to online revenue overtaking land-based.