May 3, 2023 2 min read


Estonia Considers Increased Taxes for Operators

New draft legislation envisions significant tax hikes on all gambling products as part of the government’s 2023 gaming policy revisions

The Baltic nation’s new government is keeping true to its planned gaming reforms. Its newly proposed taxation policy update outlines small but incremental hikes across all forms of gambling. Estonia currently sports one of the lowest industry tax rates in Europe. The planned minor increase should still allow the sector to remain attractive despite tightening regulations.

Operators Will Still Pay below Average

Estonia has fully embraced the rising European trend of tightening gambling regulations and increasingly stringent customer protection measures. The country’s coalition government has predominantly rallied behind the cause, evident by the newly proposed Tax Laws Amendment Act. The document envisions sweeping changes across the private and corporate sectors, with a special section dedicated to gambling.

According to the draft legislation, gambling companies will face sweeping tax increases. The 3% hike on lotteries should not affect private operators since the national lottery is a state-owned monopoly. This measure primarily targets retail companies organizing marketing initiatives and consumer games to promote their products.

However, the planned increase in betting and online gambling means that Estonia will no longer tie with Malta as the lowest-taxed jurisdiction. The current 5% rate will jump to 6% in 2024 and 7% in 2026, contributing €8-13 million annually to the government’s coffers. Even with the increase, Estonia will remain among the most promising markets, meaning the gambling sector should retain its attractiveness.

The Country Tightens Its Grasp on the Industry

The low tax rate is one of the primary factors behind the explosive growth of Estonia’s gambling industry. With nearly 30 operators competing over the country’s population of just 1,33 million, the authorities have become increasingly concerned regarding the rise in gambling-related harm. The nation has followed the European trends towards more stringent gambling regulations, proposing a complete ban on advertisements.

Industry representatives have rallied against these measures, calling for a more nuanced approach. They drew attention to the delicate relationship between sports stakeholders and operators, urging government officials to meet them for further discussions. However, the consensus between the ruling parties and the threat of rising societal costs seems sufficient for the authorities to proceed with their plans.

Overall, the planned tax hikes and tightening regulations spell the end of the honeymoon period Estonian operators have been enjoying until now. If implemented, the measures will likely cause a temporary downturn, but examples from other European countries show that the industry can thrive even with similar restrictions.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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