While a small country both geographically and population wise, Estonia is fast becoming a top jurisdiction for many types of online activities, the country having embraced the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, having introduced e-residency services and so on.
The online gaming industry is no exception to this rule and while Estonia may not be as well-known as the usual suspects like gaming jurisdictions Malta or Gibraltar, we at Porat Group definitely see it as an up-and-coming opportunity for online gaming licenses in Europe for the next few years.
Online gaming and gambling have been legal for foreign operators in Estonia since 2011 (and since 2012 servers can be located outside the borders of Estonia as well), and for many online gaming operators this is an extremely attractive jurisdiction for licensed online gaming businesses, because:
* Estonia is an EU member state, and as most in the industry already know, the access this provides to EU markets, EU bank accounts and other benefits tied in with an EU membership;
* The license is valid for 10 years;
* The tax rates in the country are relatively low (with a corporate tax rate of 20% and the gambling tax for winnings set at 5%);
* Compared to other EU states where the licensing process is rigid and complicated, Estonia has simplified theirs significantly and the costs are even accessible for small and mid-size operators.
To be properly licensed in Estonia, an online gaming operator must obtain 2 different licenses, an activity license and an online gaming license.
The regulator for the online gaming industry in Estonia is called The Estonian Tax and Customs Board. Holders of the licenses are allowed to organize games of luck, games of skill or lotteries.
The licensing process is nevertheless long and requires compliance with several different rules and regulations, such as:
* Describing the equipment that will be used;
* Describing what type of gambling will take place;
* Describing the rules of the game/s in question;
* Information and description of the security measures in place;
* An overview of personal data protection measures taken;
* Location of the server containing the software used;
* Assessment by an independent expert (options listed on the website of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board) on the compliance of the software with specific rules in place;
* Proof of ownership of the domain name;
* Information about the current accounts that are used for intermediation of payments between the operator and players;
* Attaching a business plan;
* Information about Anti Money Laundering measures in place;
* Information, names, addresses, copies of passports/IDs and contact information for applicants, owners and key persons;
* Certificates of no criminal record and violations of the gaming rules for the applicants and key persons;
* Proof of a share capital of at least 1 million euros;
* Date of payment of fees (all fees are to be paid before the application is submitted).
No matter if you already know that you are interested in Estonia specifically for an online gaming license, or if you want to compare the jurisdiction of Estonia to comparable jurisdictions, Porat Group’s regulatory experts and lawyers can help choose the right jurisdiction and provide advice on the relevant gaming and gambling legislations.
We also offer hands on services with the entire regulatory process, including all contacts with the regulator and possible other service providers such as banks, and payment providers.
Contact us for an introductory consultation during which we can tell you more about the services we offer.