Estonia, an EU member state, is one of the hottest jurisdictions for online gaming right now. While gambling itself has been legal in the country since 1994 the regulations relevant for online gaming and gambling specifically have only been fine-tuned in recent years, which is the reason not everyone in the industry is aware of this option for online gaming regulation.
The Estonian gaming license is issued by the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, an agency of the Ministry of Finance, which is the supervising authority for the licenses. The country is bound by EU law, and every operator wishing to operate in Estonia is required to obtain a license. Licenses are non-transferable and businesses can be established as either joint-stock companies or limited liability companies. Online gaming operators need 2 separate licenses in order to be properly licensed in the country: an activity license and an online gaming license.
The licensing process takes several months, and online gaming/gambling laws have not changed in Estonia in recent years, nor are they expected to change in the near future.
Applicants must meet a number of requirements in order to be granted an Estonian online gaming license, some of those requirements being:
- Share capital requirement of 1 million euro, as well as reserve capital;
- Payment of license fees;
- Documentation such as information on the board of directors and company representatives, a detailed business plan, a detailed description of security features in the online platform used, a full list of games provided, copies of shareholders documents, articles of association, information about current accounts that are used for payments and so on.
- The operator or its representative must be a resident of Estonia.
- The applicant must work according to the laws of Estonia.
- The applicant may not conduct any other business besides gaming/gambling.
Why might someone’s license application be denied?
As with all licenses, there are of course cases where an online gaming license is denied. The most common reasons for such refusal of a permit include:
- A criminal record or conviction among one of the shareholders, board members or directors;
- Record of a revoked gaming/gambling license, either in Estonia or in another jurisdiction;
- Record of a bankruptcy, resulting from errors in management or due to shareholders/management violating laws.
Why is this such an attractive option for those seeking an online gaming license?
This jurisdiction has many advantages over most other jurisdictions that currently offer online gaming licences, some of the most important of those advantages being:
- Since Estonia is an EU member state, an Estonian license allows for EU entry for the license holder, including when it comes to banks and payment options that may otherwise be out of reach for the licensee (may not be applicable in all member states since each EU member state can decide about their own laws related to this).
- A very stable jurisdiction, politically and economically.
- The taxes are attractive, the gambling tax in the country being 18 % for lotteries and 5 % for sports betting and online gambling. The corporate tax rate is 20 %.
- Licenses are valid for 10 years (although the regulator maintains the right to revoke them if the license holder is found to not be following their rules, as in all jurisdictions where gaming licenses are issued).
- The license is recognized and respected all over the world, making it one of the online gaming licenses with the best reputations in the world.
Why choose ClearSky Network to assist you with your online gaming licensing process in Estonia?
ClearSky Network is better equipped to assist with the licensing process for an online gaming license in Estonia than most of our competitors since we actually have an office in Estonia, as well as access to speakers of the Estonian language (a rarity, since there are only around 1.1 million native speakers out there).
Additionally, we have a great deal of experience with this licensing process in particular, as well as with other licenses in the country (such as the licensing process for cryptocurrency exchanges in Estonia), as well as an impressive network of partners and relevant service providers in Estonia.
What you get if you choose to work with ClearSky Network during this process
ClearSky Network assists with:
- Registering an Estonian company, including with the preparation of all the documents needed for this;
- Opening accounts in Estonian banks, and with other suitable payment providers, depending on the clients’ needs;
- Finding a legal address in Estonia;
- Hands on support during the entire process, which includes the contacts with the regulator, the Tax and Customs Department and other governmental bodies;
- Drafting, issuing and translating documents such as powers of attorney as needed;
- Compliance consulting;
- Legal consulting;
- Accounting consulting.
As well as with many additional issues and services that may come up during the process, since every clients’ circumstances and needs are unique and may therefore require a different focus or solution.