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Estonia puts Online Gambling into Play

By admin, Jan 9th 2010
Estonia has had a rough time of it in the recession; in fact, they've had it about as bad as any other country in the European Union, with an economy that is down an estimated 36%. The government, in its quest to secure funds to operate, is ready to open the doors to online gambling and is ready to do it right away. Well, sort of.

The industry will be a legal and regulated business in the country at a time when a lot of Eastern European countries are looking for new revenue sources. With a population of over a million, and the prospect of friendly location, it is seen as a worthwhile market and jurisdiction to explore.

One of the inspirations for Estonia was the very successful Baltic Poker Festival that was recently held there in conjunction with an online gambling company.

The way the Estonian government is doing it is rather unusual, and among some players controversial, in that operators are going to have to obtain an Estonian license to comply with the law. For the first year, people will only be allowed to play with companies that are based in Estonia, and then in 2011 they have said that they will throw the market open to everyone.

They consider this rather smart business for a country that is trying to establish itself as a potential area for operators to establish themselves. Of course, it opens up the potential for at least a temporary monopoly until next year, and that does indeed have some of the nation's residents a bit perturbed, especially since if they play poker, for example, it would permit them to play at a limited number of locations, unless they were to change locations themselves.

Estonia is not without gambling. There are, in fact, 150 different land-based casino operations throughout. The country, which is located on the Baltic Sea and is bordered by the Russian Federation. It was one of the first nations to impose a flat tax on its citizens and the government is a strong proponent of free trade.

The legalization and regulation of online gambling is seen by many as part of a natural progression. Proponents of this move, and the methodology with which the Estonians are conducting it, contend that it is only in their best interests to attract international online casino business anyway, so the idea of a one-year restriction should not be very much of a concern.

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