Up until 1991, Estonia was part of the former USSR where all kinds of gambling activities were forbidden. After the country gained its independence, however, gambling regulations were passed quickly in parliament. Three years later, in 1994, the national lottery was established. This was followed by the Gambling Act of 1995 where other forms of gambling were legalized. The latest development was the Gambling Act of 2009. This has the goal of strengthening the local gambling industry as well as addressing the increasing popularity of online casinos.
Since 2009, then, online gambling has been fully legal in the country. The Estonian Gambling Authority started issuing its first licenses to local operators. At this point, all foreign sites were blocked by internet service providers. However, in 2011, Estonia allowed foreign-based casinos that are licensed within the EU to offer their services in the country once again. On the flip side, casino operators located outside the European Union remain blocked within Estonia to this day. The legal age for gambling in the country is 21.
As we mentioned above, the Estonian Gambling Authority is committed to strengthening the local gambling industry so that local online casinos remain competitive compared to their international counterparts. Therefore, the goal is to keep black market activities in check while working on a solid foundation to improve the local industry. As a result, online casinos licensed in Estonia are very trustworthy. This is because they must commit to strict regulatory requirements. Player protection and the protection of minors are of particular importance. Another important topic is the prevention of gambling addiction. Operators must implement a multitude of responsible gaming limits and additional options such as self-exclusion. Fair gaming is ensured by regular audits of random number generators. New games can only be published once they have been tested and approved by the Estonian Gambling Authority.
All customers playing at Estonian gambling sites must verify their identity and age. This is to ensure a safe gaming environment for all while preventing minors from accessing the sites. Operators must respect responsible gambling limits at all times. In case an online casino does not comply with the strict regulations, the Estonian Gambling Authority can issue large fines or revoke the gambling license entirely. If a player happens to encounter any sort of problem with an online casino or betting site, the individual can easily file a complaint via email or directly on the website of the Estonian Gambling Authority/Estonian Tax and Customs Board.
Furthermore, casino operators regulated by the Estonian Gambling Authority must host all of their services on local servers to guarantee the highest level of security. Another mandatory requirement is to secure gambling sites with state-of-the-art SSL encryption. All in all, then, the Estonian Gambling Authority is doing a great job of upholding its mission brief.