Online Gaming in Estonia

Estonia began licensing and regulating online gaming in 2010. In 2010, only Estonian-owned operators were allowed to offer online gaming. In 2011, Estonia opened up its market to offshore operators.

Two key legal acts govern online gaming in Estonia – the Gambling Act and the Gambling Tax Act. The regulatory body overseeing online gaming in Estonia is the Estonian Tax and Customs board.

When Estonia first opened its market to offshore companies, it required that the operator’s servers be located in Estonia. In 2012, Estonia removed that regulatory requirement.

Once the online market was legalized, Estonia started blocking unlicensed gambling sites offering their services to Estonian citizens. If any users attempted to access a foreign-based gambling site, they were automatically directed to the Estonian Tax and Customer Department. Service providers were liable to face fines of up to 40,000 Kroons for not blocking unlicensed sites. Estonia has also attempted blocking bank transfers to unlicensed sites as well as advertisement restrictions.

Operators need two licenses to do business in Estonia. The activity license verifies the company is reliable and will conform to the requirements of the Gambling Act. It is nontransferable and granted for an unspecified amount of time. The operating license, which relates to the specific online games offered, is issued for up to five years.

Online gaming licenses can be obtained through the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. Operators pay a 5% tax on the gross gambling yield annually and upfront licensing fees.

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