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Estonia - online gambling regulations

Published by Niki | July 28, 2020

Country specifics

Gone are the days when you’d need to take a long drive and carry additional expenses just for one night of gambling entertainment. With the rise of the online gambling industry, players have the luxury of accessing the best quality games from the comfort of their own homes.

Before you get too excited, there are a few things to take into account. With the rapid growth in popularity of the industry, it has caught the attention of government officials worldwide resulting in a mass focus on gambling laws and regulations.

Online Gambling Regulations in Estonia

If you’re located in Estonia this guide is for you. We’ll be taking a look at the legalities of online gambling, a brief historical overview as well as anything and everything else you need to know before you can access an online casino with peace of mind.

The history and laws of gambling in Estonia

Estonia is one of the more forward-thinking countries when it comes to gambling. The country gained its independence in 1991 but was annexed by the USSR until 1994. Once the last Russian troops left the country many things started changing. One of the first things to go was the strict Soviet laws.

The first piece of gambling legislation was the Lottery Act of 1994 which was followed shortly with the Gambling Act of 1995. The laws made gambling legal in Estonia. Since these laws have been put in place the country has been doing nothing but liberalizing its gambling market. Because of this, the gambling industry has been able to grow from strength to strength within Estonia.

After a massive loss in revenue in the economic crisis of 2007 to 2008, the government introduced the Gambling Act of 2009. Unlike the reaction from other countries, the new legislation was even more welcoming towards the gambling industry. The new legislation made it possible for operators to acquire a licence and serve their products to Estonian locals.

However, there were still some limits on foreign operators, which made the initial rollout quite slow. In 2011 the ban on foreign operators was lifted and they were finally also allowed to acquire an online gambling licence within the country. The country doesn’t take the licencing process lightly and does everything possible to ensure only the most reputable online casinos are licensed.

The downside is that all foreign operators that are not granted a licence within Estonia are unable to provide their offering to locals within the country. The government regulates the market strictly, and bans and fines any sites that operate within the country without the required licensing.

The gaming licence procedure is also extremely strict, which makes it quite difficult to obtain a licence. All operators applying for a licence will have to pass Estonian checks before they are granted a licence. Although the EU is present in the country, even EU approved operators are required to go through the Estonian checking and vetting process.

The two main laws in control of online gambling in the country are the Gambling Act and the Gambling Tax Act. That being said, Estonia has come a long way, and where it once only provided licences to local operators, they’ve expanded to include foreign operators.

Are gambling winnings taxable in Estonia?

Nothing beats a few spins on your favourite online slots or creating a Royal Flush winning hand on the table games. As an online casino player, the entertainment comes with the benefit of possibly being able to strike mega big wins. The one thing that can put a damper on any winning joy is taxation on those wins.

For Estonian casino players, there is an 18% tax rate applied to all lottery winnings. For these types of winnings, the amount will be deducted from the source. Players who hit big wins while playing online casino games or taking part in sports betting are free from tax. Thus, you are not obligated to report your gambling winnings or pay any unexpected taxes on them.

For licensed operators, things aren’t as easy-going. All operators, both online and land-based, are required to pay taxes on their net profit as well as monthly fees on every machine they own. While this is a hassle, the taxation is less heavy than that from operating in countries such as Poland or Belgium. And with the online gambling market blooming and steadily growing, the taxes are not as big a concern as many would think.

Is online gambling legal in Estonia?

Nothing beats the joy of coming to the end of laws and gambling regulations guides and concluding that online casino gambling is fully legal within the country. In Estonia, players can safely explore all legal online gambling sites without the fear of getting into trouble with the law.

One thing players from Estonia need to keep in mind is that while online gambling is legal in the country, the authorities are very strict. As a player, it is best to play responsibly only at online casino sites that have been vetted and licensed by the government.

Unlike other countries, Estonia doesn’t just focus on punishing illegal operators and blocking ISPs. They are also very strict in their punishment of players who have attempted to play at any online casino site without a local licence. So, while there are still online casino operators providing their services illegally within the country, it is in your best interest to steer clear of these sites. You will be punished if caught on an unlicensed site.

That being said, there is a wide variety of licensed online casinos available to choose from. Take a look at our list of regulated and licensed online casinos for Estonian residents. Each of these casinos has been reviewed and only the best are added to the list. These casinos offer great gaming variety, superb customer service, and frequent rewards. Some of them even get you started with a massive welcome bonus.

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