Online gambling is completely and totally regulated in Estonia, and they're a good model of how it should be handled. Estonia is a green-level online gambling jurisdiction with full regulation of all types of gambling on the Internet. Estonia is located in eastern Europe. It borders the Baltic Sea to the west and the Gulf of Finland to the north. It borders Russia to the east and Latvia to the south. It's also located about 30 miles south of Helsinki, Finland across the Gulf of Finland.
All forms of online gambling are regulated in Estonia, and they are an excellent example of a country that has solid regulatory guidelines that provide the right incentives to players and operators to make sure that things run smoothly. Online gambling is regulated by the Estonian Tax and Customs board, and while it used to be that servers for operators had to be located inside of the country, 2012 saw the end of that restriction.
With reasonable, but strict, guidelines for licensees and favorable tax rates of five percent (in addition to flat licensing fees), Estonia has attracted a fair amount of operators. Because they allow foreign operators to become licensed and offer their games to players from the country, players have less of an incentive to play with unlicensed sites.
There are two licenses that have to be acquired to operate in Estonia. The first is called an activity license, and it establishes the reliability of the company in question. It also establishes their ability and willingness to adhere to their regulatory requirements. The second license is called an operating license, and it's more game-specific in nature. The activity license does not expire unless it is revoked by the Tax and Customs board, but the operating license has to be renewed every five years.
Estonia has been very serious about keeping players on their sites. They've went so far as to fine Internet service providers for not blocking sites that they have listed as needing to be blocked, and they've also attempted to block financial transactions through the banks for unlicensed gambling.
While they're very serious about enforcing their regulatory boundaries, they're also serious about keeping the industry clean. Along these lines, there are clear avenues for players to escalate complaints, and these complaints are taken very seriously. Operators can face fines, losing their licenses and other disciplinary action if they do not adhere to the regulatory guidelines.
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