Estonia joined the EU on May 1st, 2004 and has been using the Euro as currency since January 1st, 2011, so it’s one of the 19 (out of 28) countries using the Euro. In Estonia, we find a population of 1 313 271, statistics of 2015, and an area of 45 227 km². The national language is Estonian and the capital of the country is Tallinn.
Even if Estonia has a small population, gambling is very popular, and a survey concluded that at least 80% of the adult local population has gambled at least one time, meaning obviously that many have done it more times than that.
The industry is fairly young, though, as in not so distant times Estonia was a part of URSS where gambling was forbidden. This doesn’t mean like it happens worldwide, that there weren’t illegal casinos operating and that people were not gambling even if it wasn’t legal.
After leaving the URSS, Estonia was eager to attract foreign investment, and that is why gambling was legalized and licenses were issued quickly.
To play legally in Estonia one needs to be at least 21 years old, but lotteries are accessible from the age of 16. There is something curious, though, to fight addiction there is a measure to self-exclude players from six months to three years, considering a player makes that requirement.
The initial fairly relaxed legal regime in what concerned gambling started to be stricter with the 1994 Lottery Act and the 1995 Gambling Act, in order to put some control in the growing industry.
These laws defined four gambling types: skill, chance, betting and totalizators, and also determined that a special license was necessary before any operator offered gambling activities in Estonia.
This was the beginning of regulation in the country, but there was no contribute here for online gambling regulation. Fast development of gambling technologies proved these laws short, and in 2008 the Gambling Act was created and this is the law still regulating gambling in the country, including online gambling.
To get a gambling licensing companies to need to observe certain requirements, namely having a capital of €1 million minima, along with the permit to offer gambling activities. Apart from this minimum capital, there is also a fee of approximately €50.000 in order to get both the activity license (that remains valid for 20 years) and operating license (that concerns the online games offered, that’s valid for just 5 years).
The interest in gambling from the population, along with the improvement of the legal framing for online gambling, made possible that in 2010 online gambling has become legal for Estonia-based operators. This measure happened as a response from the government to revitalize this and other industries in the country after the 2008 global crisis.
These efforts to revive the Estonian Economy allowed, in 2011, foreign operators in the country, and currently, Estonia has a total of eight granted licenses for online gambling operators.
This legalization started the beginning of blocking unlicensed sites that were operating. Basically, any user trying to access illegal sites was redirected to the Tax and Customer Department page of Estonia. The message was clear for the internet service providers too, a 40,000 Kroons fine (over €3.000) for not blocking those sites.
This existing regulation makes these eight approved operators contrast with the 800 online casinos that are blocked because they don’t have a license, and are unable to operate.
If you are Estonian or happen to be in the country and you want to gamble online, we leave you here a few legal casinos where you can play safely.
|Euro Palace||Video Slots||Guts Casino|
|Royal Panda||Royal Vegas||Mr Green|