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Estonia: Regulation of Sports Betting Under the New Gambling Act

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Sports Betting: Law and Policy

Part of the book series: ASSER International Sports Law Series ((ASSER))

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This Book looks at the Law and the Policy on Betting and Sport in many countries around the world––sport is a global phenomenon––providing a very useful and valuable comparative survey on a subject that is so vital for safeguarding and preserving the integrity of those sports in which betting is legally allowed. The country reports show how sports-related betting is organized in the country concerned, also from a historical and policy perspective (national Lotteries Act; state run/state licensed lotteries and/or private operators; how the licensing system for public operators works; state supervisory mechanisms, etc.), and contain a treatment of the national case law.

Katarina Pijetlovic—Lecturer in EU law and Researcher in EU Sports Law.

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  1. 1.

    The work is available at Its author is a senior lawyer at the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, the authority in charge of licensing gambling operators.

  2. 2.

    This follows from the Article 9(5) which provides that ‘Lotteries, except for promotional lotteries, may be organized by a completely state-owned public limited company founded for that purpose by the Government of the Republic whose share capital is at least 1,000,000 Euros and whose shares are completely state-owned.’

  3. 3.


  4. 4.


  5. 5.

    The video of a later Kasiinovastased protest which took place in July 2008 in front of the building of Olympic Entertainment Group, the owner of Olympic Casino, is available at

  6. 6.

    State Gazette RTI, 06.11.2008, 47, 261. Available at

  7. 7.

    Article 1 of the Act.

  8. 8.

    See the paragraphs on online sports betting infra.

  9. 9.

    State Gazette RT I 2002, 28, 158. Available at

  10. 10.

    State Gazette RT I 2008, 15, 108. Available at

  11. 11.

    Article 2(1) of the Act.

  12. 12.

    Eesti Loto is the state-owned public limited company that organizes lottery games in Estonia. For more on the company see

  13. 13.

    Article 2(2) of the Act.

  14. 14.

    The decision is available at It is worth mentioning that the concept of stake in this particular case was defined in relation to lotteries.

  15. 15.

    State Gazette RT I 2002, 35, 216. Available at

  16. 16.

    Article 48 of the General Part of the Civil Code Act.

  17. 17.

    Article 2(3) of the Act.

  18. 18.

    Definition under Article 6 of the Act. This type of lottery can go unregulated as long as its prize fund does not exceed EUR 10.000. See Article 2(5).

  19. 19.

    Decision of Tallinna Halduskohus (Administrative Court) of 28 June 2007 in the case 3-06-1582.

  20. 20.

    This follows from the Articles 9(7) and 10(1) of the Act.

  21. 21.

    Articles 19–32 of the Act.

  22. 22.

    Decision of Halduskohus (Administrative Court) in case 3-06-1582.

  23. 23.

    ‘Non-profit organizations specified by the Government of the Republic the only statutory purpose of which are equestrian and equine related activities.’

  24. 24.

    Article 22(2) of the Act.

  25. 25.

    State Gazette RT I 2006, 58, 439. Available at

  26. 26.

    1 EUR is equal to 15.64 EEK (Estonian krooni). Official exchange rates by Bank of Estonia.

  27. 27.

    Discussed further below under paragraphs dedicated to regulation of remote gambling.

  28. 28.

    Article 57(1) of the Act.

  29. 29.

    The relevant provisions will enter into force on 1 January 2011 separately from the rest of the Act.

  30. 30.

    Articles 58(1) and (2) of the Act.

  31. 31.

    Article 57(2) of the Act.

  32. 32.

    For more on the investigative power of the supervisory officials see Articles 66–73 of the Act.

  33. 33.

    See Articles 74–101 of the Act.

  34. 34.

    Article 2 of the Gambling Tax Act.

  35. 35.

    861 SE Available at

  36. 36.

    According to the Tax and Custom Board official statistics. See

  37. 37.

    The Estonian Association of Gambling Operators has an instant calculator on its website visited on 6 April 2009.

  38. 38.

    Concepts which are interpreted in accordance with the Gambling Act. See Article 21(2) of the Advertising Act.

  39. 39.

    Article 21(4) of the Advertising Act.

  40. 40.

    Article 21(3) of the Advertising Act. Nevertheless, the commercials of illegal sports betting sites such as, and are shown on the Estonian TV all the time, inviting people to participate! This is clearly in violation of the Article 21 of the Advertising Act. See paragraphs below on regulation of remote gambling.

  41. 41.

    Article 19 of the repelled Advertising Act of 1997, as amended.

  42. 42.

    E. Schriever and A.M. Aronovich ‘Cross-Border Gambling on the Internet: Challenging National and International Law’ Publications of Swiss Institute of Comparative Law, Genf: Schulthess Juristische Medien AG, 2004, pp. 105–141.

  43. 43.

    This system is employed also by countries such as Denmark, Norway, Austria, Finland and some others. Its defining characteristic is that the organization of gambling is allowed only on the basis of the license issued by the competent body of that state and the online gambling services provided from foreign countries by organizers which are not in possession of such license are considered illegal.

  44. 44.


  45. 45.

    Source: Consider also the provisions of Article 372 of the Penal Code: (1) Economic activities in a field subject to a special prohibition, or activities without an activity license, other license, registration or through an unapproved enterprise in a field where such activity license, other licence, registration or approval of enterprises is required, are punishable by a fine of up to 300 fine units or detention. (2) Same act, if: (1) it is committed by a person who has previously been punished by such act; (2) danger to the life or health of numerous people is caused thereby, or (3) it is committed within a field of activity related to health services, handling of infectious materials, aviation, railway traffic or provision of credit, insurance or financial services, is punishable by a pecuniary punishment or up to 3 years' imprisonment. (3) An act provided for in subsection (1) of this section, if committed by a legal person, is punishable by a fine of up to 500, 000 kroons. (4) An act specified in subsection (2) of this section, if committed by a legal person, is punishable by a pecuniary punishment. (5) A court may, pursuant to the provisions of Section 83 of this Code, apply confiscation of a substance or object which was the direct object of the commission of an offense provided for in this section.

  46. 46.

    The document available at

  47. 47.

    The following paragraphs are excerpt from email correspondence with Agris Peedu, senior lawyer at the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. 6 April 2009.

  48. 48.

    In my response to this email I have pointed out that providing services in Estonian language coupled by the aggressive advertising on top Estonian TV channels in Estonian language should be sufficient evidence that the service is targeting the clients in Estonia. This was accepted as true, but the fact of lack of clear legal basis still remained.

  49. 49.

    Available at

  50. 50.

    Namely, the decisions of Halduskohus (Administrative Court) in case 3-639/2002 and of Tallinn Ringkonnakohus (District Court) in case 2–3/100/2003.

  51. 51.

    In addition, Article 37(2) provides that ‘it is prohibited to open a venue for games of chance, pari-mutuel betting or games of skill in an immovable used by a preschool establishment, basic school, upper secondary school, vocational educational institution, hobby school, youth camp, children’s welfare institution or youth work institution.’

  52. 52.

    For example, Olympic Casino bought Kristiine Casino and Monte Carlo bought Kasiino Paradiis.

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© 2011 T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the authors

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Pijetlovic, K. (2011). Estonia: Regulation of Sports Betting Under the New Gambling Act. In: Anderson, P., Blackshaw, I., Siekmann, R., Soek, J. (eds) Sports Betting: Law and Policy. ASSER International Sports Law Series. T.M.C. Asser Press.

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