Estonia Reverses It's Online Gambling Laws

Published Saturday, January 09, 2010 -

Estonia has implemented its new and improved Gambling Act, that has in real terms reversed it's online gambling status. Previously Estonia required online casinos to be located outside the country now the government wants all servers offering gambling to be located within it's borders. This move is an attempt to create revenue from online gambling with internet gambling websites servicing Estonians required to pay a licensing fee, plus a 5 percent tax on gross revenues. According to a recent report in the Baltic Times, “The possibility that online poker gaming could be restricted is not good news for us,” If things get tough, one may have to consider moving residence or start working abroad like Estonian builders in Finland.” said professional poker player Imre Leibold.

Estonia, which is member of the European Union, has decided to disregard treaty rules that demand all members allow for free trade within the E.U. which is necessary for a desired single market. Germany and France are among other countries that disagree with the E.C. rules regarding protectionist gaming policies. According to the Estonia Free Press, the conditions requiring online casinos to locate in Estonia should be lifted sometime next year, which will allow for normal competition by other E.U. member states and there resident online gambling operations. It is suggested that if Estonia does not open it's market to competition the industry there will collapse and operators will vacate the country. Market demands drive growth and if Estonia is going to be successful in the online gambling market it will have to be strong and wiling to offer a wider range of gambling products to the world. The need for revenues can not override it's need to comply with E.C. although it looks as if that is the intent of the new gambling legislation coming into effect. Each country that does not comply with the E.C. regulations is a possible thorn in the side of other E.U. countries. The question is asked, why have an E.U. if everyone plays by different rules?

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