Estonian Online Gambling Monopoly – Blocking Foreign Operators

Posted on 07/04/10 - by Theodor Mavrodis News

Politicians around the world struggle with the issue of online gambling, and the legal status of this popular pastime varies greatly from one country to the next. Estonia uses a policy of both regulation and licensing combined with the blocking of unwanted online gambling providers.

Regulated Online Gambling
Back in the beginning of this year we brought it to the attention that Estonia took steps to legalize online gambling. The only party that could legally offer online casino games was, an Estonian land-based casino operator that offers a range of games with English and Russion language support.

While many countries prohibit any form of online gambling at all, Estonia takes a more sensible and realistic approach and doesn't keep it citizens from placing an occasional online bet.

Discouraging Competition
Although part of the approach is laudable, Estonia spoils it by discouraging competition to take place in the casino marketplace. The Estonian Tax and Customs Board drew up a list of more than 200 domain names that were linked to online gambling, and ordered Internet Service Providers to block these sites for the public.

On this list are some of the most popular online casinos, with a lot of our best-rated PlayTech and Microgaming casinos being blocked from the Estonian market. In this way competition is virtually impossible, making the Estonian gambling policy questionable to say the least.

Hope for the Future
The Estonian Government however keeps stressing that the current restrictive policy is only temporarily, in order to observe and learn in a controlled environment. Let's hope that when all goes well, the Estonian online market will open up for all and set a good example for other countries to follow.