Tucked away beside Russia, Estonia has far more in common with the Nordic countries than its sizeable neighbour, and that includes their love of gambling games and online casinos. After gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the state didn’t wait long before they started to regulate gambling. The laws regarding gambling have undergone several changes over the years. The question you’ll most likely be asking is – what is the current situation in the country as of right now?
Is Online Gambling Legal in Estonia?
Provided the operator is licensed, all forms of gambling are considered legal and above board in Estonia. The Gambling Act of 2009 is the current piece of legislation which runs the rule over online gaming, however, minor changes were made in 2011.
The 2009 Act was designed to regulate online casino gambling, as the existing 1994/1995 acts understandably didn’t cover internet gaming, which was scarcely in existence at the time. This legislation essentially made only online operators based in Estonia legal, and the gambling authorities would only issue licenses to those websites. This had an adverse effect on the Estonian gambling market.
In 2011, the laws were amended to allow offshore and foreign operators to also offer their services in Estonia. However, there was a caveat – those operators did have to apply for Estonian licenses. It is a move that many of the larger casinos have made. Provided that you choose to play at an online casino which bears an Estonian issued gambling license, you’re playing at a entirely legal casino in the country.
Estonian Online Casinos
Estonian casinos are few and far between. Several do exist, and they naturally cater to Estonians rather well. This means that they offer the euro currency, as well as gameplay in the Estonian language.
There is no question of legality surrounding these online casinos, as all will bear an Estonian casino gaming license. Many such online casinos are also based on land-based casinos and slot hall which frequently appear in the country, most notably in Tallinn.
Offshore Casino Sites for Estonian Players
Since 2011, any offshore or foreign casino operator has been legally allowed to apply for an Estonian online gambling license. In theory, any casino which does not support such a permit is deemed illegal; however, the Estonian gambling authorities aren’t too fussy about stopping such sites from going about their business.
The Estonian gambling commission has on some occasions asked ISPs to block access to a handful of offshore casinos, although this is seldom done in practice, and usually only applies to the most significant international sites which aren’t licensed out of the country. There is certainly no punishment for Estonians themselves who wish to play at offshore sites, and simple VPNs (virtual private networks) can usually get around such blocks.
A typical offshore casino which accepts Estonian players may or may not offer their language but will almost certainly provide the euro currency. Moreover, these sites will be likely to provide the same payment methods for Estonians that their Nordic neighbours use, particularly for mobile gameplay.
Is Anything Likely to Change in the Future?
Like most EU member states, Estonia has now taken it upon themselves to regulate their own gambling industry. They were one of the first countries to do this. While other nations have followed suit, they often forbid foreign operators for applying for licenses. Estonian doesn’t do this, so there is no real reason for anything to change.
Given that the country effectively has an open online gambling industry which entitles every operator in the world the chance to apply for a license, the only reason Estonia would change their laws is if they wanted to ringfence the industry for Estonian only operators and players. This would be a bad move for a country with such a small population and so will almost certainly not happen.
Top Estonian Casino Sites
Estonian players can, as we have pointed out, play at virtually any online casino – provided it has not been ISP blocked. However, opting to play at a casino which specifically caters to them by offering their language and currency is going to be far more beneficial (not to mention safer) than opting to play at some far-flung offshore site.
Some of the leading Estonian casino sites players may wish to check out include several of those listed on this page. They include domains such as Paradise Casino, Cleopatra, Casino Heroes, Dragonara Casino, Slotty, Casino Cruise, 21 Casino and Play Club Casino, to name but a few of them.