Estonia Gambling License

Online games in Estonia began to be regulated from 2010, the first licensed companies were Olympic Casinos and OlyBet. A company wishing to operate in the online gambling market must obtain two types of licenses in Estonia

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Although there are many countries around the world who have legalized gambling ages ago, there are also such countries who fought to legalize gambling for years and only managed to do it in the last decade or two.

And while those regulated markets that existed for decades had to go through hundreds of changes in legislation to get to the point they are today, it was much easier for countries that regulated gambling later, since they had a lot of great examples to learn from.

If you are familiar with some of gambling’s history, you have probably heard that when USSR existed, all types of gambling were banned in the countries that constituted it. As a former USSR country, Estonia is one of those countries that got the chance to legalize gambling two decades ago.

History of Gambling in Estonia

Even though illegal casino establishments existed during the prohibition, the real regulated gambling history in Estonia started in 1994. The first Lottery Act of 1994 marked the beginning, and when the first Gambling Act of 1995 came into force, the gambling market officially opened. By 2008, Tallinn had 91 casinos, but that number significantly decreased by 2010 to 33, due to crisis and the new law adaptation in 2008.

Also in Estonia Online Casinos Need Licenses
Also in Estonia Online Casinos Need Licenses
But with the new law, online gambling legislation was approved in 2009, effective from the 1st of January 2010. And while up until this point, licenses for gambling were allowed for local operators, as of 2010, these local operators were permitted to subcontract to offshore operators, with the only condition: the server that determines the games results to be domiciled in Estonia.

Gambling in Estonia was and is still regulated by the Ministry of Finance, but licenses applications are sent to Tax and Customs Board, which also has access to block websites of operators that had not applied for a license.

The first regulated interactive poker site was launched in 2010 and therefore the first license was obtained by Olympic Entertainment powered by Playtech. Paf followed suit, as did PokerStars, and with that, the online gambling in Estonia that we know of today began.

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Types of Licenses

The Ministry of Finance defines a gambling game as one where the requirement to place a bet exists, players can win a monetary prize and the result of the game is based on chance. The country only allows organising gambling activities that comply with the requirements of the Gambling Act in Estonia.
There are two types of licenses:

  • Operating license
  • Granted to organise a type of gambling like games of chance on machines and tables, lotteries, totos, etc., to organise gambling activities in a certain place or to open a gambling venue on a ship.

  • Activity license
  • This license is granted for an unspecified term and is not transferable. It establishes compliance with the organizer’s requirements entitling to applying to the operating license.

Applying for a Gambling License in Estonia

The operating license for remote gambling in Estonia is issued for up to 5 years. In order to obtain a license, applicants need to submit an application to the Tax and Customs Board indicating name, registry code, address, contact and the type of license they are applying for. Besides, applicants need to write the address of the server’s location that contains the software used for organising online gambling and the IP address. The name and position of the contact person and the name and contact of the IT support person are also required, as is the name, position and signature, digital signature included, of the person completing the application. Applicants should also name the term of the license which they apply for and should set up a date of the state fee payment.

However, there are 9 other requirements which should be appended to the application, such as information regarding software, protection of the data, security measures, rules of the games, gaming equipment, expert assessment, current accounts, phone numbers and website addresses, and evidence regarding legal basis and possibilities of regulatory authority for gambling (for offshore servers).

Finally

Finally, the applicants should make sure their players respect the restrictions on participation in remote gambling. People under the age of 16 are not allowed to play a lottery, and those under 18 are not allowed to play toto. The legal age to access any game of chance or skill is 21, so operators that offer such games must not accept players under the age of 21.

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