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Betting in Estonia

Published on: 01/02/2016

The Republic of Estonia is located in the Baltic region of northernmost Europe, and shares its borders with Russia and Latvia. The capital city is Tallinn, which faces the Gulf of Finland. Estonia has a relatively small population of approximately 1.5 million, but despite this the country has a large gambling industry. In 1918, Estonia became independent after hundreds of years under Russian and Swedish control, however in 1940, the country found itself under the rule of the USSR, until it gained freedom again in 1990. The countries primary language is Estonian, however other languages are used such Finnish, English, Russian and Ukrainian. An established lottery organisation known as Eesti Loto AS was given the task of arranging a national lottery once the Soviet troops had left the country. Gradually other gambling companies started setting up unregulated sportsbooks businesses and new lottery regulations were created in 1994. All lottery games under the new law fall under the authority of the Ministry of Finance.

Since 2000, Eesti loto has been a part of the Norwegian-based Scandinavian Viking Lotto. As a result, the range of lottery games has increased. A second company, Bristol, has also been handed the task of creating a range of instant games.

Estonia’s government created the Gambling Act in the mid-nineties in an effort to control all forms of betting aside from lotteries. The new rules have enabled over 20 sportsbooks, both native and foreign, to gain licences. In Estonia, the required legal age of consent for betting is 21.

Currently the Olympic Entertainment Group has lots of betting activities on offer, along with an abundance of other legitimate gambling companies. Tallinn boasts nearly 60 casinos, Tartu has 11 betting venues, Parnu is home to another eight, Narva has four, while Viljandi and Johvi each have three.

Estonia has many gaming establishments which facilitate slot and games machines. The bigger casino venues also have gaming tables and popular gambling activities such as Roulette, Poker and Blackjack. The country has a horse race track and the Tallinn Hippodrome facilitates harness racing for the citizens to enjoy seven days a week from morning until 6pm.

Estonia enforces a fixed regulation which allows betting venues to facilitate games activities only. The Ministry of Finance must be informed of any cash prizes exceeding $5,000 and taxes on gambling involving games of luck are set at 18% percent.

In 2004, the Estonian government made available the first internet sportsbook called Spordiennustus. Shortly afterwards E-Lotto was created to provide online wagering for betting activities such as bingo and the state lottery.

In 2010, regulations were made to permit privately-owned sportbooks to provide punters with online wagering services. Estonia granted the first gambling licence to a company called Olympic Entertainment Group, soon followed by Pokerstars. Now, there are hundreds of online sports gambling sites available to the Estonians such as Unibet and Expect. Some even provide information in the national Estonian language.