Estonia gambling license

There comes a time in the life of every casino operator when they get tired of dealing with website blocking, receiving complaints and fines. The moment of desire for legalization and official entry into your target market, already in a new, completely legal guise.

Having a gambling license in one of the EU countries gives the operator the right to organize gambling in all countries of the Union, except for those that have a local license (15 countries). This right is conditioned by one of the main legislative acts of the EU – the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and also confirmed by the practice of the EU Court.

In more detail, Article 56 TFEU prohibits restricting the freedom to provide services within the EU to residents of member states.

In Pfleger and Others, C-390/12, EU:C:2014:281, the Court found that domestic legislation prohibiting the organization of gambling without prior authorization from the administrative authorities constituted a restriction on the freedom to provide services.

However, an absolute breakthrough in the regulation of gambling in the EU was the decision of the Court in the caseUnibet International Ltd v Nemzeti Adó- és Vámhivatal Központi Hivatala, in which an online casino operator holding a Maltese license managed to win a dispute with a Hungarian regulator regarding the operator’s right to operate in Hungary without a local license.

This judicial practice gave a new impetus to the development of the gambling niche in the EU, as well as the confidence of operators in the legality of their actions.

An excellent solution for entering the EU market can be an online gambling license in Estonia.

Regulatory bodies and classification of games

License Application and License Restrictions

First of all, a company registered in Estonia must apply for a license to organize gambling activities.

However, the organization license does not give the full right to operate itself, which is the peculiarity of the Estonian gambling legislation. After obtaining a license for an organization, the company must issue a separate operating permit.

An operating permit defines a clear framework within which an operator can carry out its activities, both for land-based and online operators. More specifically, this means that the permission includes the full list of games provided, the website, the domain, and so on.

Only after obtaining a license to operate and a permit to operate, the company can start gambling.

Permission to conduct gambling is issued for the organization of a separate type or subspecies of gambling in the form of remote gambling. Permission to organize remote gambling is issued only to a gambling operator whose electronic accounting and control system is properly linked to the information system of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board.

Separately, it is worth clarifying that one application for obtaining permission can cover several web domains at once.

License validity period: The activity permit for the organization of distance gambling, lottery and skill games is issued for a period of up to five years.

**Estonian gambling license provides exclusively B2C services

The procedure for applying for a license and requirements for the applicant

The organization of gambling should be the only area of ​​activity of the operator of gambling.

Shareholders holding a qualifying stake in the gambling operator or beneficial owners or board members of the gambling operator company must meet the following criteria:

  • No criminal record;
  • The person should not be seen in the management bodies of the legal entity that organized gambling without a license or permission for such activities; or
  • A person should not be subject to court decisions, as part of the bankruptcy proceedings, indicating that this person caused the company’s insolvency as a result of a gross error in management.

++ Additionally:

  1. Gambling can only be organized by a joint stock company or a private joint stock company with an authorized capital of at least 1 million euros, as well as a reserve in the amount of ⅓ of the authorized capital (333,333 thousand euros)
  2. Lotteries can only be run by an open joint stock company with an authorized capital of at least 1 million euros and all shares of which are owned by the Estonian state;
  3. Skill games can only be organized by a joint stock company or a private joint stock company with a share capital of at least 25,000 euros. whose capital is at least EUR 25,000;

*A more detailed description of mandatory payments will be given below.

In order to obtain a license for the relevant type of activity, an application must be submitted to the Tax and Customs Board indicating:

  1. passport details and registration code of the applicant;
  2. place of residence and contact details of the applicant;
  3. type of organized gambling;
  4. position, name and signature of the person completing the application; And
  5. date of payment of the state fee.

Before deciding whether to issue a license to operate, it is necessary to check whether the applicant meets the requirements described in the section above, as well as his tax history for the last three years, and, if necessary, the collection of additional characteristics confirming the reliability and good business reputation of the applicant.

To verify the documents submitted when applying for a license, as well as the reliability and good reputation of the applicant for a license to carry out activities, the Tax and Customs Service has the right to request information from both the applicant and from state databases.

The following documents must be attached to the application for issuance of a license to carry out activities:

  • Information and documents on the members of the board of the applicant for an activity license, including first and last name, personal identification code and date of birth, place of residence, a complete list of places of work and positions, as well as documents confirming the reliability of the members of the board of the license applicant;
  • Information about the auditor of the applicant for a license to carry out activities, including his name, place of residence or location, personal identification code and date of birth;
  • A list of shareholders of the applicant for a license to operate, including all information in the paragraphs above, as well as information on the number of shares or the size of the block of shares and the number of votes that each shareholder must acquire or already has; And
  • Information and documents on persons owning a qualified block of shares of the license applicant.

List of required documents from the company:

Statutory documents of the company:

  • Registration certificate
  • Articles of Association 
  • Register of shareholders and directors

Business Plan

The business plan must include a full description of the applicant’s gaming activities, strategy, expected profits based on specific, detailed calculations.

Proof of origin of funds:

Bank statements or financial statements confirming the financial strength of your company and its founders.

Technical documentation:

Detailed technical specifications of your gambling platform and software. Description of technical methods for protecting users’ personal data, as well as AML / KYC compliance.

Measures to Ensure Responsible Gambling:

Description of approaches and implementation of the operator’s Responsible gaming policy. A comprehensive plan outlining the steps you will take to promote responsible gambling and respond to players with “suspicious gambling behavior” in a timely manner.

State fees

License typeCollectionA comment

License casino

Paid when applying for an online casino license

Skill Games License

Paid when applying for a license to organize skill games
License to organize a totalizator
Paid when applying for a license to organize a sweepstakes

There is also a capital requirement of EUR 1,000,000 + ⅓ of the share capital as a reserve fund.

Only an open joint stock company with an authorized capital of at least 130,000 euros can be the organizer of sweepstakes, however, a feature of this type of license is that the full package of shares must belong to the Estonian state.

Terms for obtaining a license:

The general terms of the licensing process are usually 2 to 4 months, depending on the complexity of the application and the responsiveness of the authorities. In some cases, the review time may be extended up to 6 months.


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