A Short Introduction to iGaming Legislation in Baltic Countries.
Baltic states have a great potential to become the next popular destination of iGaming business. Although these are not the largest countries regarding population, and the average income is moderate, gambling is a favorite entertainment for locals. In 2016, an overall regulated online gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the Baltic region was €47.8m. All three countries in the bundle have legislative frameworks. In other words, gambling is allowed in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and gaming operators are required to obtain local licenses to carry out business there.
However, when it comes to entering new markets as well as further promotion, legal regulation is one of the biggest challenges for iGaming companies. Given that all three countries opened the doors to international businesses, some of them can be interested in doing business in the Baltics. Here we offer a regulatory snippet of iGaming market in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Just in case you were interested.
Currently, the gambling industry in the country is regulated by the Gambling Act and the Gambling Tax Act, which set the legal framework for sports betting, poker, casino, bingo, lottery, horse race betting and online gambling. The lottery is the only government monopoly in the list. Following the Estonian legislation, an operating license and activity licenses are required. An activity license checks whether the operator fulfills the requirement of the Gambling Act. Every gambling operator willing to operate in Estonia should not only obtain two licenses but also meet a requirement on share capital at least €1 million. Plus, they are required to pay a permit fee estimated around €50,000. For now, there are ten licensed operators offering gambling activities online in Estonia. However, over 800 websites are blacklisted. Gross gambling revenue here was €14m.
The online gambling market in Latvia was unregulated until 1998 and a few years later was legalized. Currently, all operators that offer their services to Latvian market should have a license issued by the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory inspection. The regulator also maintains a list of prohibited websites which includes some of the global gambling giants. The full list is available here. The National Lottery of Latvia is managed by Latvijas Lotto, a government company. The following changes in the Latvian legislation in 2014 led to a ban of the IP addresses of unlicensed sites and restricting the age limit to 21 rather than 18. Furthermore, a license is valid only for a year, and there are seven companies who operate in Latvia legally. Latvia outperformed both of its Baltic peers with overall revenue of €18.3m.
Gambling is legal in Lithuania since the regulation back 2001. Online gambling operators are required to have a license starting from 2016. It means that otherwise foreign websites targeting the Lithuanian market are banned. According to the latest changes in legislation, online operators are required to have an office in Lithuania and open a certain number of land-based gambling establishments in Lithuania. Also, companies have to meet minimum paid share capital requirements, which amount to over €1 million for online gambling activities. For now, six operators got licenses in Lithuania. Lithuanian market reached €15.5m.
To sum up, the Baltic online gaming market has undoubtedly thriving potential, and we expect more gambling operators to reach out. This perspective will likely affect operators, suppliers and affiliate companies, pushing them to cooperate more closely.
See how you can benefit from iGaming in Baltics exploring the opportunities we offer at Comskill.