Estonia is the third country and nation that makes up the Baltic States’ trio, the other two being Lithuania (Latvia) and Latvia. All three offer a fascinating history, rich cultural heritage, and breathtaking natural beauty. However, many find that Estonia is the most fascinating of the three, with over 1500 islands, vast ancient forests, hundreds of ancient castles, churches and hilltop fortresses scattered throughout the land. Comparatively speaking, Estonia is a tiny country, not just in terms of landmass but also population, with just over 1.3 million people.
Like its neighbour Latvia, Estonia is home to one of the most prolific and iconic online casino gaming software providers globally – Playtech. Along with Microgaming, Playtech kick-started the online gaming industry back in the mid to late nineties. The company is still going strong. Playtech has its main headquarters in Tallinn, the country’s capital, and offices in Tartu. With this fascinating bit of information in mind, we take a closer look at the gambling history of Estonia and the current state of affairs regarding legal online gambling in the country.
Gambling History of Estonia
Just like Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia was also part of the Soviet Union, at least up until 1991. As you would expect under Soviet rule, Estonia did not have much to do with gambling, at least legally. While there may have been underground gambling activities going on, as one would find in many countries worldwide, officially, all gambling activities were banned.
However, in 1991, that all began to change, beginning with the Soviet Union officially recognizing the independence of Estonia. Not long after that, the Eesti Loto was launched as a state-owned and run venture. Eesti Loto oversees all lottery games in the country, including other games of chance such as scratch cards, bingo and keno. In 1994, the country moved another step closer to formulating a cohesive stance on gambling in Estonia by introducing the Lottery Act, and a year later, the Gambling Act. These ultimately paved the way for introducing and establishing the brick and mortar casino industry in Estonia.
Flash forward to Estonia 2021, and you’ll see more brick and mortar casinos per capita than just about anywhere else in Europe. In fact, there are now more brick and mortar casino options in the capital city of Tallinn than the rest of Estonia combined. For those interested in online gambling, within Estonia and outside of its borders, this too sees more progress and positivity than most other places in the world today.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Estonia?
Estonia is one of the few examples of a country where virtually all forms of gambling activity are completely legal regarding legal online gambling. When the government of Estonia introduced the new Gambling Act of 2009, it completely superseded all other previous acts, rendering them null and void. The 2009 Gambling Act sought to drastically improve on outdated and cumbersome gambling legislation and streamline the process of acquiring licensing under Estonian law. The new Gambling Act applied to all forms of gambling in Estonia. It included brick and mortar casino gambling, bingo halls, brick and mortar poker rooms, all forms of sports betting, lottery gaming, online casino gambling, all forms of online gambling, including poker and live dealer casino gaming. According to the new Gambling Act, all these activities are wholly legal if the operator concerned has obtained a license through the government of Estonia.
In 2011, the government of Estonia expanded the gambling industry of the country by opening up opportunities to foreign operators and vendors. This effectively meant that any foreign (not Estonian soil) casino or sports betting operator could officially apply for a gambling license to offer their services to Estonian players. The official regulatory body of the Estonian government that issues gambling licenses to both domestic and foreign operators is the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, or ETCB. This board oversees all gambling activities. It covers the brick and mortar casino and sports betting industries and all online gambling activities and products to ensure maximum player protection.
How We Evaluate Our Top Estonia Online Casinos
Estonia is one of the most liberal countries when it comes to online casinos. However, this is not to say that any old online casino can operate within the Estonian legal online casino industry. All casinos need to be above board, with reputable ownership and working practices. That said, just like any other region in the world, you’ll find plenty of shady online casino operators pretending to be legit Estonian online casino options. To ensure that you only access the very best and legal Estonia online casino sites, we put each and every potential online venue through meticulous scrutiny and examination. This includes testing and evaluating all available casino services and product features. In this way, whichever Estonia online casino option that you pick from our recommended listings, you will be assured of a premium online casino experience every time.
The following will give you a good idea of some of the key areas, services and product features that we evaluate and assess before adding them to our recommended list:
The welcome bonus is arguably the most powerful tool in any online casino’s arsenal (aside from games and jackpots) when it comes to attracting new players to their site. While welcome bonus offers are designed to be as enticing as possible, it is always vitally important for new players to tread carefully in this area. This is why we always check every welcome bonus from every angle to ensure that you get the best deals possible. The amount has to be value for your investment. The offer must be reasonable in terms of wagering requirements, and the T’s & C’s must be transparent and easy to understand.
Talking of bonus terms and conditions, the casino’s wagering requirements attached to their bonus offers are among the most important. It’s good to know how much the casino is offering in bonus cash and other incentives. But knowing how much you’ll have to wager before you can withdraw any winnings made from bonus money is far more crucial. All of the casinos that we recommend for Estonian players offer bonuses with reasonable wagering requirements that you can realistically meet in good time.
Our selected online casinos for players in Estonia all feature convenient and secure payment options. These are all tested and vetted, and only the best and most secure options are recommended. Options include both MasterCard and Visa credit and debit options, eWallets, prepaid cards, bank transfers, cryptocurrencies and more.
All top Estonia online casino options feature state of the art web security, including the latest in Secure Socket Layer (SSL) digital encryption. Doing so ensures that all player data is encrypted whilst housed on the casino’s servers. Other secure areas include all transactions (uploading funds or withdrawing winnings), stored personal information, and conversations between you and the casino.
Support and Language
Most of our recommended online casinos offer full 24-hour support to players in Estonia. Some will feature language support for Estonian, while others will offer English, German, Swedish, French and other language support alternatives. The most effective method of communication with a casino support team is via live chat. However, most casinos also offer email correspondence, direct call support, and social media support.
Popular Estonia Online Casino Welcome Bonus Offers
Both local Estonia online casinos and the international operators providing their services to Estonian players offer the same bonus and promotion variation. In other words, you’ll find some superb welcome bonus offers at local Estonia online casinos, as well as at the international operators. It all depends on what you’re looking for and what your particular needs are. To help bring clarity to your decision-making process, we briefly explain the two most common bonus types here:
No deposit bonus
A no deposit bonus is often your best starting point when evaluating an online casino. It gives you the chance to try them out in a ‘real world’ kind of way. As the name suggests, these types of bonus offers will provide you with a bonus without you needing to risk your own money first to get them. However, bear in mind that, in most cases, the no deposit bonus will be tiny, just enough to try out the casino for real. You’ll also find that some casinos will offer free spins as their no deposit bonus, which means that you will only be able to try out slots with the bonus. That said, whatever you win, you get to keep, provided that you meet the bonus wagering conditions in time.
The welcome bonus
The welcome bonus is usually the ‘main attraction’ at most online casinos. It is a big offer that they use to attract new players. Whereas the no deposit bonus is designed to get your feet wet, the welcome bonus is designed to help you get a good crack at the casino’s slots and table games. Some welcome bonus offers are pretty conservative, while others go all out, with multiple deposit bonuses, free spins and more.
Casino Software Providers and Casino Games
Like its neighbour Latvia, Estonia is home to some major online casino software brands such as Playtech, with their headquarters in the capital city. Estonian players can play a wide range of quality casino games sourced from the best software providers in the business with such an open market. The list includes the likes of Evolution Gaming, NetEnt, Microgaming, Play ‘n Go, Yggdrasil, QuickSpin and many others. Estonian players enjoy a wide range of gaming options. Slots, virtual table and card games, lotto games, bingo, scratch cards, live casino, video poker and so forth are included.
Mobile Casino Gaming in Estonia
Estonia is quickly becoming a leader in mobile gaming, thanks to full 4G network coverage throughout the country. In fact, Estonia is one of the first countries in Europe to begin introducing fully functional 5G networks across the country. This means that, very soon, Estonian players will be able to access mobile casino gaming with incredible speeds, a diverse range of gaming options, ultra-fast and reactive live dealer gaming on mobile and even virtual reality casino gaming in the near future.
Payment Methods for Playing at Estonia Online Casinos
You’ll find plenty of top tier payment options at our recommended Estonia online casino options. Included are all of the most popular payment solutions, such as Neteller and Skrill, both highly trusted and recommended eWallet payment options accepted at just about every online casino in the world. In addition to Skrill and Neteller, you’ll be able to use other top electronic wallet payment systems such as PayPal, Trustly, EcoPayz and others. In addition to the convenience and speed of eWallets, Estonia online casinos offer prepaid payment options such as Paysafe Card and mobile payment systems like Boku. For those who still prefer the tried and trusted card payment systems, virtually all online casinos in Estonia offer Visa and MasterCard credit and debit card facilities.
Top Estonia Online Casinos Round-up
It certainly seems that the future is looking very bright for the gambling scene in Estonia. Whether you prefer gambling in person at a brick and mortar casino, playing in the comfort of your own home, or on the go via your mobile device, Estonia offers gamblers everything. Estonia online casinos trustworthy and reliable, as our list of recommended options reflects. Furthermore, the country’s progressive gambling laws have also attracted the very best international online casino and sports betting brands to do business in the country. As a result, Estonia is one of the leading countries in digital gambling, land-based gambling and mobile gambling. Indeed, it seems to be set on leading the way into the future.