For gambling operators

In Estonia, it is allowed to organise gambling that complies with the requirements of the Gambling Act. A person who has been granted an activity licence, an operating permit and who complies with the general requirements laid down by law has the right to organise gambling.

What is gambling

In order to understand whether it is necessary to apply for permits, one must first determine whether the game qualifies as gambling. According to the Gambling Act, gambling is a game in which:

  • a precondition for participating is that the player makes a bet
  • as a result of placing a bet, the player may receive a monetarily appraisable victory
  • the outcome of the game is partly or fully determined by an activity based on chance or depends on the occurrence of a previously unknown event.

The following types of gambling may be organised in Estonia:

  • Games of chance
  • Toto i.e. sports betting
  • Lottery
  • Games of skill
  • Commercial lottery.

Gambling operators pay gambling tax. 

In which cases is no permit is required

Games with gambling characteristics may be organised without permits and the requirements of the Gambling Act do not apply to them, if the following is offered:

  • games of skill, the only possible prize of which is getting the opportunity to take part in the same game again
  • sports competitions
  • lotteries with the value of the prize pool of up to 1000 euros
  • commercial lotteries with the value of the prize pool of up to 10 000 euros.

These games are not subject to gambling tax

Types of gambling

Games of chance are games, the outcome of which depends on chance and which are played by means of a mechanical or electronic device or by mediation of the organiser of the game.

Games of chance are:

  • Games organised on gaming tables and gaming machines – games, the outcome of which is determined by means of an electronic, mechanical or electro-mechanical device prepared or adapted for the organisation of gambling, or with the help of the organiser of the game.
  • A tournament of a game of chance– a competition where the participants compete with one another in a game of chance, with each participant receiving an equal position in exchange for the participation fee when starting the game of chance.
    A tournament of a game of chance may take place as:
     1) as a tournament, in which the total amount of the participation fees is the total amount of the fees paid to the gambling operator by the participants in the tournament, which form the prize pool of the tournament and the fee of the operator, or
    2) as a ring game, in which the total amount of the participation fees are the total amount of the fees received by the gambling operator out of the bets made by the players in the ring game.
  • "Additional games of chance" – games which upon fulfilment of the conditions set by the rules of the game grant an opportunity to the player playing on a gaming machine or gaming table to win a prize collected out of the bets of the gaming machines or gaming tables or another predetermined prize.

Games of chance can be organized in a land-based casino, aboard ships and online, i.e. as remote gambling.

Remote gambling is the organisation of gambling in a manner where the outcome of the game is determined by an electronic device and the player can participate in the game by electronic means of communication, including via the telephone, Internet and media services.

Gambling is not considered remote gambling where electronic means of communication are used only for receiving bets, informing about the outcome of the game or transferring payments to the account of a player.

The right to organise a game of chance is only granted to a trustworthy legal person that meets the requirements set forth in the Gambling Act and who holds an activity licence for organising gambling and an operating permit for organising gambling.

Totos are games, the outcomes of which depend on whether an event bet on by the player occurs or does not occur or how it occurs. The event bet on by the player must be beyond the control of the gambling operator.

The winning of a prize depends on whether the bet turns out to be true or not and the amount of the prize depends on the amount of the bet and the winning coefficient determined before the making of the bet (betting) or percentage of the total amount of the bets as determined by the gambling operator, the number of people who bet correctly and the amount of their bets (totaliser).

Totos can be offered to all kinds of events which are beyond the control of the gambling operator and are not limited to sports.

In the case of a toto it is possible to accept bets and distribute prizes in a land-based gambling location (e.g. a toto betting point) or accept bets and distribute prizes by means of distance communication (e.g. via the Internet or telephone).

The right to organise a toto is only granted to a trustworthy legal person that meets the requirements set forth in the Gambling Act and who holds an activity licence for organising gambling and an operating permit.

Lotteries are games, the outcome of which depends on chance; whereas the prize pool constitutes up to 80 per cent of the selling price of the circulation of the lottery tickets, and the outcome of the game is not determined more than three times per twenty-four hours or it is determined by opening the ticket field on the lottery ticket.

The lottery is divided into:

  • A classic lottery, the outcome of which is determined by the organiser of the lottery after the opportunity to take part in the lottery is not offered anymore.
  • An instant lottery, the outcome of which is randomly determined among lottery tickets before the acquisition of the tickets by a player and the result becomes known to the player while opening the ticket field after acquisition of the lottery ticket.

Lotteries with the value of the prize pool over 1000 euros, may be organised only on the basis of a valid operating permit by a public limited company whose share capital amounts to at least 1,000,000 euros and all of whose shares are held by the Estonian state. 

Lotteries with a prize pool of up to 1000 euros may be organised without a valid operating permit and are not covered by the requirements of the Gambling Act.

Games of skill are games, the outcome of which depends predominantly on the physical skills or abilities or knowledge of the player, and which are played by means of a mechanical or electronic device.

Games, the outcomes of which depend entirely on the player’s dexterity and which are not played by means of a mechanical or electronic device, such as sports competitions, are not considered to be games of skill.

The requirements of the Gambling Act are not applied, and no permits are required, for games of skill in which the only possible prize is getting the opportunity to take part in the same game again.

Games of skill can be organized at land-based gaming locations, aboard ships and on the Internet, i.e. as remote gambling.

Remote gambling is the organisation of gambling in a manner where the outcome of the game is determined by an electronic device and the player can participate in the game by electronic means of communication, including via the telephone, Internet and media services.

Gambling is not considered remote gambling where electronic means of communication are used only for receiving bets, informing about the outcome of the game or transferring payments to the account of a player.

The right to organise games of skill is only granted to a trustworthy legal person that meets the requirements set forth in the Gambling Act and who holds an activity licence for organising gambling and an operating permit.

A commercial lottery is a classical lottery or an instant lottery organised by a provider of goods or services for the promotion of the sales of goods or services or for advertising the goods, services or the provider thereof.

The right to participate in a commercial lottery is acquired with the acquisition of goods or services. If the right to participate in the raffle is not acquired with the acquisition of goods or services, it is not a commercial lottery, but a regular lottery, the organisation of which is subject to different requirements.

The organiser of a commercial lottery with a prize pool of more than 10,000 euros is required to register the commercial lottery in the register of economic activities before conducting the campaign.

The requirements of the Gambling Act do not apply to the organisation of commercial lotteries with a prize pool of less than 10,000 euros and in their case it is not necessary to submit a notice of economic activities. These games are regulated by the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority. 

Helpful information

If you have any questions, please write to the email address hasart@emta.ee.

Applying for permits

In order to offer gambling in Estonia, a company must first apply for an activity licence for organising gambling and an operating permit from the Estonian Tax and Customs Board.

Read more

Gambling operator reminder

This is a reminder for Estonian gambling operators regarding the obligations imposed upon them by law.

Read more

List of legal gambling operators

This page lists operators that hold a licence for organising gambling in Estonia.

Read more

Last updated: 01.04.2022

Was this page helpful?