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Estonia Gambling Regulation – Betting in the Baltics

estoniaEstonia is the northernmost of the Baltic states, with a population of only 1,3 million people and a newcomer in the betting industry, having regulated gambling in 2010. Its gaming authority is controlled by the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, who are responsible for the issuing of all licenses in the country. Although, games of chance have only existed during the last 20 years, the ETCB has shown a high level of professionalism and currently regulates some of the highest rated sports betting firms in the business, such as Unibet and of course, the local up and coming Olybet. The purpose of this guide is to offer and inside look on one of the lesser known gaming jurisdictions on the rapidly expanding gaming markets of Eastern Europe.

Roles and responsibilities

The primary role of the ETCB is to review every applicant who wishes to obtain the "Activity licence for organizing gambling" and make sure that licensed online bookmakers, follow the rules set by the Gambling Act of 2010. These rules specifically state that:

  1. Minors are prohibited from certain types of gaming, depending on their age

  2. Bookies guarantee that their payout exceeds 80%

  3. Every betting company must restrict access to minors

  4. The value of a prize on a game of skill can not exceed 50 euros

  5. Each bookmaker must maintain a server on Estonian soil, that contains the personal info of every customer

  6. Bettors must provide their personal information to every bookie, plus a verification of this info

  7. Bookmakers must deal with complete transparency with their players. This means that they must state their address and were they are licensed in

  8. The RNG (random number generator) of every slot, on an online casino must have been approved by the licensing authority where the casino is based

  9. Betting firms must at all times respect the limits bettors set on their accounts

  10. Information regarding how long a punter has been signed in must be always visible on the website. Also, bookmakers are obliged to keep a history of every bet and transaction.

Besides regulating online betting firms and casinos, the ETCB is tasked with finding out which bookies offer services without a license and block their content. Foreign bookmakers have only been allowed to enter the local market during the last 5 years, so there are as few as 11 sports betting companies currently licensed in Estonia.

Types of licenses and licensing procedure

The Estonian Tax and Customs Board categorizes gambling in four different types: Games of skill, games of chance, betting & totalizators. However, two main licenses exist, that are split to an activity and an operating license.

In order to gain an operating license, a betting firm (either a joint stock or a private equity) must file the application to the ETCB and follow certain instructions, by stating the following:

  • The name, registry code, contact details and the base of the applicant.

  • The type of gambling (lottery, betting etc.)

  • The IP address of the website and the location of its server

  • The name and position of the contact operator and the IT

  • The date when the licensing fees will be provided

After the first hearing, a betting company should present information regarding:

  • The gaming equipment used

  • The rules of the game (which must agree with the Gambling Laws of Estonia and the EU)

  • An overview regarding the security measures of the website

  • How every punter's personal information is safeguarded from identity theft

  • Detailed info on the software the website utilizes, such as the provider of the sportsbook

  • Contact information, that can be easily viewed on the website

  • Financial information regarding the accounts where every bettor's balance is placed

  • A guarantee that the betting firm agrees to be subjected to financial inspections (if the need should arise) in order to prevent money laundering activities.

The cost for acquiring a license for organizing games of chance amounts to 48.000€. A games of skill license costs 32.000€, while a totalizator one costs 3.200€. Holding an Activity License is necessary for any provider who wishes to offer his products (sportsbook, casino games etc.) to an online bookmaker. Bookmakers have to obtain the Operating License before they can start offering specific gambling services, such as sports betting, games of skill etc.

Making a complaint

If you happen to encounter a problem with an online bookmaker, you can easily contact the ETCB by sending an e-mail to [email protected] Here, you should state the name of your bookmaker, the nature of your problem and if possible, the conversation you had with the customer support of the betting firm. Unfortunately, given that the ETCB does not solely regulate gambling, but is also responsible for the customs and taxes in Estonia, you might have to wait a couple of days before you receive a reply.

Advantages

The main pros associated with an Estonia gaming license can be summed up to the following:

+Low fees. Getting a license can cost as little as 32.000€.

+High level of professionalism. The ETCB works in collaboration with the EU, meaning that any betting firm will be strictly, but fairly regulated.

+Untapped market. Eastern Europe is still in a transitional phase, meaning that investors can find lucrative opportunities in the Baltic country.

Contact info

You can find information about the ETCB on https://www.emta.ee/eng/contacts-and-about-us. If you wish to contact them by email, you must use the following address [email protected] Contact by phone is also available at +372 880 0810, from Monday to Friday, 8:30-16:30 GMT+2.

Top bookmakers licensed in Estonia

Bookmakers Rating Why to Bet Why to Bet Bookmakers Bonus  
Unibet Unibet
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Melbet Melbet
  • 200+ Live Events daily
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Tonybet Tonybet
  • 25+ sports
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OlyBet OlyBet
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Bookmakers Rating Why to Bet Why to Bet Bookmakers Bonus  
Unibet Unibet
  • 250.000+ pre-match events/year
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  • 96%+ on Asian Handicaps
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Melbet Melbet
  • 200+ Live Events daily
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Tonybet Tonybet
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OlyBet OlyBet
  • Upcoming bookmaker
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