Estonia gambling business: history and current state of affairs

Estonia gambling business

Both the land segment and online gambling are developing equally well in Estonia despite rather strict gambling industry regulation.


The gambling legislative regulation history

It’s worth mentioning that Estonia started to encourage the gambling industry formation before 1991 in contradistinction to other USSR members. So, the first Estonian gambling hall emerged in 1989. It was located on the ship deck. The casino, opened at «Palace» hotel, was the second gambling institution. The gambling Tallinn history started thereat.

Online gambling institutions emergence period lasts from 1990 to 1994. They are owned by such large operators as Olympic Casino, Play-In Casino Group and Kristiine Casino. The online casinos emergence was accompanied by gambling licenses issue institute establishment.

The gambling business regulation law was adopted in 1995. The legislation is currently valid. But lots of amendments have been made to it over several years. The original document version provided the right to obtain licenses by gambling companies for 10 years period. Besides the operators had a chance to get a permit to organize gambling with a predetermined location. This refers to the gambling hall opening in a particular place.

The gambling advertising prohibition is a contradictory trend in recent years. But a similar decision was made in 1997 in Estonia. The gambling facilities premises remains the only marketing opportunity for Estonian operators to promote own services. The first Estonian Gambling Operators Association emerged in the same year.

Estonia gambling legislative regulation history

The country’s gambling legislation was significantly tightened in 2008. The amendments both fixed the need to identify the players’ personalities, as well as provided the user access limit programs to gambling.

The legal online casinos status was officially fixed in Estonia the following year. Unlicensed operators, which target audience consisted of Estonian users, became the object for blocking from that date. Therefore, Estonia is commonly deemed a country with a nationalized approach to the online gambling industry. Each international operator has to sign a contract with a licensed national gaming company in order to enter Estonian market. Online gambling platforms may only be visited by users, who have reached the age of majority. The fact that the funds payment is made to the bank account, which was previously used to make a deposit, is one more Estonian online casinos playing feature.


Tallinn – the cradle of gambling

Tallinn looks rather modest, comparing to other European capitals – its population is about 426 thousand inhabitants. However, the city has got about 40 casinos. It’s worth mentioning that Estonia doesn’t have clear distinction between casinos and gambling halls. Therefore, any room, where the excitement is present, is called a casino.

Tallin - the cradle of gambling

Reval Park classic casino is deemed the largest gambling facility in the capital. The hotels’ and gambling institutions’ staff is trained to provide service at a really high level, since Estonia is famous for its developed tourism industry. Finnish and Swedish language are common in Tallinn casinos.

Olympic Entertainment Group is one of the oldest operators, which has got the monopolist title. The current company’s gambling institutions are located in both Estonia as well as Belarus, Slovakia and other countries.


Estonian modern gambling market

Currently the Ministry of Finance tax and customs department is Estonian gambling regulator. The agency provides the license for operators. The state is entitled to organize gambling activities, according to Estonian laws.

It is also common in Estonia to classify gambling into four types: games of chance, lotteries, sports betting and games, requiring special knowledge and a certain skills level.

The first include board games and slots, lottery drawings can be organized by both private and state operators. Estonians tend to call both poker and other card games «skill games».


The current Estonian gambling industry news

The fact that Urve Palo, the ex-Minister, decided to return to the private sector and lead the gambling institution, is one of the most interesting news about Estonian gambling industry.

Estonian gambling industry news

Earlier the parliamentarians decided to increase the tax rate for gambling operators in December, 2018. Besides the funds redistributing procedure for social and cultural needs, which the industry has traditionally sponsored, has been revised.

Enlabs new operator joining Estonian market is one more important fact.

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