All about gambling license in Estonia

All about gambling license in Estonia

Estonia, with its innovative approach to technology and desire for digitalization in various spheres of life, has not been left behind when it comes to gambling. In recent decades, the country has been actively developing the regulation of the gambling industry in an effort to balance the interests of players, businesses and the state. Gambling licensing in Estonia has become a key tool in ensuring a fair, transparent and responsible gambling environment. In this article we will look at the history of gambling licensing in Estonia, the current structure of the gambling industry, as well as key aspects of the licensing process and what it means for players and operators

Historical overview of gambling regulation in Estonia:

Estonia began regulating gambling in the early 1990s, after gaining independence from the Soviet Union. In 1995, the Lotteries and Gambling Act was passed, which established the basic rules and conditions for gambling and lotteries in the country. In 2009, a new Gambling and Online Gambling Law was passed, which regulated online gambling and amended the rules for offline gambling.

Current structure of the gambling industry in Estonia:

  1. Offline casinos: There are a small number of physical casinos in Estonia that offer a wide range of gambling games such as slot machines, table games (poker, blackjack, roulette) and sports betting.
  2. Online gambling: The electronic gambling market is also active in Estonia. Companies can obtain a license for online casinos, poker rooms and sports betting.
  3. Lotteries: Lotteries are also popular among the Estonian population. There are various lotteries run by both public and private operators.

Number of active licenses and distribution by type of gambling:

Exact figures on the number of licenses may change over time, but the total number of gambling licenses in Estonia is limited and controlled by the regulatory authority. The distribution of licenses can vary depending on market supply and demand, but generally licenses are issued for both offline and online gambling venues, including casinos, poker rooms and sports betting offices.

Key players in the Estonian gambling market:

  • Olympic Entertainment Group: The largest gambling company in Estonia, which owns several casinos and gaming halls in the country.
  • Betsafe: One of the leading online gambling operators in Estonia, offering a wide range of online casinos, poker rooms and sports betting.
  • Eesti Loto: Estonia’s state-owned lottery operator, offering various games of chance to the Estonian population.
  • Paf: Another of the major online operators providing gambling and sports betting in Estonia.

These companies are key players in the Estonian gambling market and have a significant impact on its development and dynamics.

Regulatory and legal part in licensing

The main laws and regulations governing gambling in Estonia:

  • Gambling Act: Adopted in 2009, this act establishes the basic rules and requirements for the organization and conduct of gambling in Estonia. It includes provisions on licensing, supervision, taxation, advertising and consumer protection.
  • Lotteries Act: This act regulates lotteries in Estonia, establishing the rules and conditions for their organization, licensing and supervision.
  • Government Resolutions and Decisions: The Estonian government adopts resolutions and decisions clarifying and supplementing gambling legislation.

Role of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCT) in licensing and supervision of gambling activities:

The Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCT) is the main body responsible for regulating and supervising gambling activities in the country. ETCT issues gambling licenses, controls their compliance with legal requirements, and monitors financial transactions in the gambling industry to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
Important provisions regarding licensing requirements:

  • Financial solvency: Gambling operators must demonstrate sufficient financial solvency to ensure the payment of winnings and financial sustainability.
  • Business reputation: Operators must have an impeccable business reputation, with no legal violations or gambling sanctions.
  • Origin of funds: Legislation requires that funds used to organize gambling are legally obtained and not linked to criminal activity.
  • Prevention of money laundering: Operators must have measures and procedures in place to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, including verifying the legality of the sources of funds and monitoring financial transactions.
  • Technical standards and security requirements: Licensed operators must meet technical standards and security requirements to ensure the integrity and reliability of the gambling process.
  • Responsible Gaming: Operators must comply with regulations and programs to prevent gambling addiction and provide a safe gambling environment for their customers.

Types of gambling licenses in Estonia

There are several types of gambling licenses in Estonia, each for different types of gambling and lotteries. Here is a detailed description of the four main license types:

  1. Gambling license:
    1. Requirements:
      • Financial solvency: the applicant must demonstrate sufficient financial resources to organize and maintain gambling.
      • Business reputation: the applicant and its management must have an impeccable business reputation.
      • Responsible Gaming: the operator must have programs in place to prevent gambling addiction and protect players.
        expiration dates and restrictions:
    2. Term of validity:
      • Usually 5 years.
      • Restrictions: include prohibition on providing services to minors and residents of countries where gambling is prohibited.
  2. License to organize lotteries:
    Requirements and procedures are similar to a gambling license, but specifically tailored for lottery games.
  3. Sweepstakes license:
    Requirements and procedures are also similar to a gambling license, but apply to sweepstakes games such as sports betting or horse racing.
  4. License to conduct games of skill:
    1. Requirements:
      • The operator must provide a gaming environment where the outcome depends on the skill of the participants and not on random factors.
      • The program must be designed to give participants an equal opportunity to win.
    2. Comparison of cost, expiration dates and restrictions:
      • Term: typically 5 years for all license types.
      • Restrictions: each license has its own restrictions related to the type of games played and the conditions under which they are held, such as minimum age of participants and geographical restrictions.

Advantages of a gambling license in Estonia

Obtaining a gambling license in Estonia offers a number of advantages for gambling operators:

  1. Access to a regulated and stable market: Estonia has a clear and transparent gambling regulatory system, which provides stability and security for businesses. Licensed operators can operate legally, following clearly defined rules and regulations.
  2. Ability to accept players from all over the world: Holding a license in Estonia allows operators to accept players from all over the world, which expands the potential audience and increases revenues.
  3. Low tax rates: Estonia offers relatively low tax rates for gambling operators compared to other jurisdictions. This allows to reduce costs and increase business profitability.
  4. Reputation of reliable and transparent jurisdiction: Estonia has a reputation for reliability and transparency on a global scale. Obtaining a license in the country demonstrates high business standards and promotes trust from clients and investors.
  5. Access to qualified personnel and service providers: Estonia is known for its high level of education and innovative approach to technology. Operators have access to qualified professionals and a wide range of service providers, which contributes to business development and efficiency.

Overall, obtaining a gambling license in Estonia represents an attractive opportunity for gambling operators, providing access to a stable market, low tax rates, transparent regulation and access to qualified staff and resources.

The process of obtaining a license

The process of obtaining a gambling license in Estonia involves several steps and requires careful preparation and meeting certain standards. Here are the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Preparing the necessary documents: The first step is to prepare the package of documents required to apply for a license. This includes a business plan, the company’s founding documents, financial statements, details of managers and other documents confirming the financial solvency and business reputation of the applicant.
  2. Payment of state duty: The applicant must pay the state fee for the license application. The amount of the fee may vary depending on the type of license and the scope of the proposed activity.
  3. Passing a security check: During the application process, the applicant and its management are subjected to a security check. This includes a review of financial condition, verification of legal irregularities, and a business reputation assessment.
  4. Obtaining authorization from ETCT: After successfully passing the due diligence check, the applicant receives a permit to conduct gambling activities from the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCT). This permit is a preliminary step before the issuance of the license itself.
  5. Compliance with technical standards requirements: Gambling operators must ensure that their gambling platform and equipment comply with the technical standards set by Estonian law. This includes data protection, game integrity and transaction security.
  6. Seeking experienced legal counsel and advice: It is important to contact experienced gambling lawyers and consultants to assist with the process of obtaining a license. They can assist with document preparation, advise on requirements and procedures, and provide expert guidance throughout the process.

Time and costs to obtain a license

The time and costs involved in obtaining a gambling license in Estonia can vary depending on various factors, including the complexity of the application, the type of license and the time required to pass the inspections and approvals of the relevant authorities. However, the following indicative information can be provided in general terms:

  1. Timeline: Usually, the entire process of obtaining a license takes anywhere from a few months to a year. This includes the time to prepare documents, pass security and technical standards checks, and have the application reviewed by the competent authorities.
  2. Costs: The costs of obtaining a gambling license can be significant and depend on the type of license, the size of the business and other factors. They include government application fees, legal and consulting fees, and other administrative costs. Total costs can range from several thousand to tens of thousands of euros.

It is important to note that actual timelines and costs can vary significantly depending on the specific circumstances of each case.

Compliance and current requirements

Gambling licensees in Estonia are required to strictly comply with a number of requirements set out by the relevant legislation and regulatory authorities. Here are the main responsibilities of licensees:

  1. Keeping records: licensees are required to keep detailed records of their activities, including financial statements, income and expense reports, and reports on gambling operations conducted.
  2. Audits: Licensees may be required to conduct audits of their activities to verify compliance with legal requirements and license conditions.
  3. Anti-money laundering compliance: Licensees must actively combat money laundering and terrorist financing, including establishing procedures and measures to identify and verify customers and monitoring financial transactions.
  4. Ensuring player protection: Licensees should take measures to protect players from gambling addiction and other negative consequences of gambling, including providing information about gambling problems and access to support services.
  5. Cooperation with regulators: Licensees are required to cooperate with regulators by providing them with necessary information and cooperating in the process of inspections and audits.

Failure to comply with license requirements can have serious consequences for the licensee, including:

  1. Fines: Violations of the law and license conditions may result in fines from regulatory authorities.
  2. License Suspension: In the case of serious violations, the license may be temporarily suspended until violations are corrected and conditions are met.
  3. License revocation: Repeated or serious violations may lead to license revocation, which means the termination of gambling activities in Estonia.


We have reviewed the main aspects of obtaining a gambling license in Estonia and highlighted the attractiveness of this jurisdiction for gambling operators. Estonia provides a stable and regulated environment for the gambling industry, ensuring high standards of transparency, security and legality.
Operators wishing to obtain a gambling license in Estonia must comply with strict requirements, including financial solvency, business reputation, anti-money laundering and player protection. However, the investment in obtaining a license pays off due to access to the international market, low tax rates, Estonia’s attractive reputation and access to qualified staff and service providers.
Overall, Estonia is an attractive jurisdiction for gambling operators seeking a secure and promising environment for their business. Its clear and effective regulation, modern infrastructure and transparent licensing system make it an attractive choice for gambling business development in Europe and beyond.

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