Estonia iGaming Market overview

By June 7, 2020 June 16th, 2020 Gaming, iGaming market overview
This article gives a general overview of the Estonian gambling market in 2020. We will discuss and describe the situation at the gambling market in general, and talk a little about lotteries, online casinos, and other forms of gambling in Estonia.

How many per cent of Estonians have gambling experience?

According to recent studies, approximately 70 per cent of Estonians (in the age of 15 to 74) have gambled for money. During the last two years approximately half of Estonians, who are in the legal age of gambling, have paid for gambling in one form or another. The number of people, who have gambled offline is slightly higher than the number of online gamblers (approximately 40% of adults have gambled offline and approximately 30% have gambled online). On the other hand, the number of online gamblers is increasing, while the number of offline gamblers has remained relatively stable.

The most popular form of gambling in both, offline and online environments, is lottery. According to studies, in 2019 slightly less than half of the people aged 16 and above played lottery at least once. The number of people, who have experienced other forms of gambling, amounts to less than ten per cent of adult population:

  • About 7 per cent of Estonians have played offline or online slots within the last year.
  • The proportion of people who have placed sports bets is approximately the same. However, a noticeable trend in recent years has been that the number of online bettors is constantly increasing, while the number of offline bettors is slowly decreasing.
  • About 5 per cent of Estonians have played poker or other online casino games within the last year. In case of both of these game types, the number of online players is higher than the number of offline players.

How have people’s gambling habits changed in the recent years?

The most noticeable trend in recent years is that, while the overall number of players has remained relatively stable within the last 5 years, the number of online players today is 2.5 times higher than five years ago. On the other hand, the number of offline gamblers has slightly decreased. The main cause for this decrease is the fact that many people, who previously preferred land-based casinos, now mostly play in online casinos. However, the number of people playing the most popular offline games, i.e. various lotteries (Bingo Loto or Eurojackpot) or instant lotteries, is relatively stable.

Compared to 2017, the number of lottery players has, however, slightly decreased, whereas the number of people playing other types of online games (various online casino games, sports betting etc.) has increased. The average playing frequency has also decreased. The overall playing frequency has decreased both in online environments and in land-based casinos.

Online casinos in Estonia

As we already mentioned, lottery is an overwhelming leader when it comes to the total number of players. Among the numerous lotteries, the most popular ones are Bingo Loto, Viking Lotto and Eurojackpot. However, in recent years, there has also been a significant increase in the number of people playing at online gambling sites. The number of players has increased at both, online casinos, and sports betting sites.  Lottery players have also begun to prefer online purchasing options. If you wish to learn more about online casinos in Estonia, you may find additional information about all legal casinos operating in Estonia at Mr Kasiino, the best guide for Estonian online casino players. However, here is a brief overview of all the legal online casinos in Estonia.

Currently, there are 19 legal online casinos in Estonia:

  1. At Bet365 online casino you can play every single online casino game you can think of. The best part of bet365, however, is its amazing sports betting section, where you can bet on virtually any sports event around the world 24/7. Bet365 online casino is operated by Hillside (New Media Malta) PLC.
  2. At Betsafe online casino you can also play all online casino games. This online casino is operated by Triogames OÜ. While the sports betting section of Betsafe is arguably somewhat weaker than that of bet365, for casino game fans, Betsafe is probably a better choice.
  3. Chanz online casino is a unique social online casino both in Estonia and in the world. At Chanz you may, in addition to playing various online casino games, also share your winning emotions with others in a social network-like environment. This online casino is operated by an Estonian company Dreambox OÜ.
  4. Unibet online casino is also one of the biggest online casinos in Estonia. Unibet entered the Estonian market already in 2007. In Estonia Unibet online casino is operated by Lexbyte Digital Limited. Unibet is also one of those online casinos where you can play all types of online casino games (including poker and sports betting).
  5. Maria Casino is a smaller online casino belonging to the same group as Unibet. At Maria Casino you can play online casino slots, table games, live casino games, and bingo.
  6. Coolbet is an Estonian online casino, where you can play virtual and live casino games and poker, and place sports bets. Coolbet Casino is operated by an Estonian company StayCool OÜ.
  7. GrandX online casino is operated by IMG Kasiinod OÜ. Most of the casino games offered by GrandX are produced by Amatic Industries. The operator of GrandX online casino also owns the land-based Casino chain Casino GrandPrix.
  8. Kingswin casino is also an online casino that offers mostly slot games. But they also have a few video poker games and several virtual table games. Kingswin casino is operated by Kingswin Online OÜ.
  9. Kirsikka is an online casino, where you can start playing very fast. All you need to do is fill in a short form and identify yourself via internet bank. This casino only offers slots. It is one of the newest casinos Estonia. Kirsikka is operated by Play North OÜ.
  10. Karhukasino is another online casino operated by Play North OÜ. It is almost identical to Kirsikka. The only difference seems to be in the design.

11.-12. Kiirkasiino and Pikakasino are also online casinos operated by Play North OÜ. In these casinos, you can begin playing even faster, as you do not even need to create an account. You can just log in via your bank, transfer a few Euros to your playing account, and you are ready to go! These casinos are dominated by online slots. However, if you look around, you may also find some virtual table games.

  1. Ninja Casino was the first casino in Estonia to allow people play without creating an account. Ninja Casino is operated by SafeEnt Limited. What makes Ninja Casino special compared to other “no account” casinos, is its wide choice of games. In addition to all sorts of slots, they also have an amazing live casino.
  2. Boost Casino is another casino of SafeEnt. It is quite similar to Ninja Casino – you do not need to create an account and can begin playing fast and without any hassle. The game choice is also identical to Ninja Casino. The only noticeable difference between the two sites is their design.
  3. OlyBet is one of the oldest and one of the most well-known casinos in Estonia. OlyBet online casino is operated by Olympic Entertainment Group AS, who also operates land-based casinos under the trademark of Olympic Casino. At OlyBet online casino you can play all kinds of online casino games, as well as sports betting, poker, and bingo.
  4. Optibet online casino has been operating at the Estonian market since 2014. At Optibet online casino you can play online casino games and place sports bets. Optibet is operated by an Estonian company Optiwin OÜ.
  5. Paf is a casino that is most widely known for its charity-related background. Since the first day of operation they have donated all their profits to charity. The leading figure of Paf in Estonia is Olympic bronze medalist Allar Levandi. At Paf online casino you can play all types of online casino games. They also have a small sports betting section but compared to several other Estonian sites, this section of Paf is not strong.
  6. io is another no-account casino. This online casino is run by an Estonian company Kopikas Entertainment OÜ. As you can probably guess by the name of the site, it offers mainly slot games.
Casino Account
needed?
Welcome
Bonus
Llive
Casino
Poker Sports
Betting
Live
Betting
Bet365 yes yes yes yes yes yes
Betsafe yes yes yes yes yes yes
Boost Casino no yes yes no no no
Chanz yes yes yes no no no
Coolbet yes yes yes yes yes yes
GrandX yes yes no no no no
Karhu yes yes no no no no
Kiirkasiino no no no no no no
Kirsikka yes yes no no no no
Kingswin yes yes no no no no
Maria Casino yes yes yes no no no
Ninja Casino yes no yes no no no
OlyBet yes yes yes yes yes yes
Optibet yes yes yes yes yes yes
Paf yes yes yes yes yes yes
Slots.io yes no no no no no
Tonybet yes yes yes yes yes yes
Unibet yes yes yes yes yes yes
yes
no

 

How popular is gambling among various social groups in Estonia?

During the past few years the proportion of gamblers has been the highest among the people aged between 30 and 40. In that age group the amount of people, who have gambled, is consistently above 60 per cent. The proportion of gamblers is higher among the people earning average or above average income. While in all other age groups (of legal gambling age) the proportion of gamblers is similar, it can be noted that the people aged above 60 gamble considerably less. Only one third of the people aged 60 to 74 have gambled in the last year.

Most gamblers (about 53%) are men, but this majority is not as huge as it was a few years ago.

Popularity of gambling amongst 15-20-year-olds

Although this age group is subject to a number of gambling restrictions (the legal age limit for playing lottery is 16 years, for sports betting 18 years and for casino games and poker 21 years), the proportion of people in this age group, who have gambling experience, is quite high.

When comparing the current situation to the numbers from 2014-2015, it can be noticed that the proportion of people with gambling experience among 15–20-year-olds is becoming closer to that of the people of legal gambling age. 60% of people in the age of 15 to 20 have gambling experience. This, however, does not mean that a huge number of young Estonians are breaking the law. Most people have gained this experience either by playing with their friends or by playing online play money games. While the number of young people, who have offline gambling experience, has remained relatively stable, the number of people gambling online has increased significantly.

Among the young people, who play offline, the most popular forms of gambling are various lotteries. Approximately 10% of people in this age group have placed sports bets and a slightly smaller number of people have experience playing online or offline slots. When comparing the current situation to previous statistics, it can be noted that, while the number of online gamblers is increasing, the number of people playing lottery is decreasing. A notable increase can be seen in the number of young people placing sports bets.

How often do Estonians gamble?

About a quarter of people gambling online play every week. This includes all types of games – online casino games, sports betting, lotteries. Among offline gamblers, the number of people, who play regularly, is slightly lower – about 20 %. However, the number is higher than in the previous years. When looking at the statistics by game types, most players play each type of game no more than once or twice every month. However, a clear exception in the monthly statistics is lottery. Among lottery players the people, who play more than two times per month, constitute a vast majority.

In general, people, who gamble online, tend to play more often. For example, among the people, who buy lottery tickets online, weekly gamblers make up more than a quarter of the total number of players. Among offline players, the number of people gambling every week, is only slightly above 10%.

The same cannot be said, for example, about sports betting. Among both, online and offline bettors, the number of regular gamblers is around ten per cent. Among bettors there are also 1–2 % of players, who gamble every day.

For casino games, the playing frequency of online players is also notably higher than that of the offline players. 1 out of 8 online casino players and 1 out of 7 online poker players play every week. Among land-based casino players weekly players only amount to 3% of the total number of players.

How much has the playing frequency of Estonian gamblers changed?

Compared to the data from 2015–2016, the number of players has decreased in almost all forms of gambling, the only exceptions being lottery and poker. The number of lottery players has stayed at approximately 25%. The number of people playing poker, both in online and offline casinos, has also noticeably increased.

Risk of gambling addiction in Estonian society

According to various studies, the risk of gambling addiction has remained relatively stable. Pathological gamblers make up about 13% of all gamblers. The risk of gambling addiction is higher among men. Statistics also show that the proportion of gamblers with addiction issues among non-Estonians gambling in Estonia is higher than the addiction rate among Estonian players. Therefore, it is also quite clear, why the proportion of gambling addicts is higher among the residents of northeastern Estonia.

Among the people living in larger towns the proportion of addicts is higher. By age groups, there has been a small increase in the number of problem gamblers among the people aged 20 or less. However, in general, there are no remarkable changes compared to previous years. Both, the number of gambling addicts and the number of people, who face a risk of becoming a gambling addict, remain relatively stable.

Gambling frequency among different risk groups

Among the gamblers belonging to risk groups, the most popular forms of gambling are casino games and sports betting. Lottery is not particularly popular among such players. Gamblers at risk of addiction are somewhat more likely to prefer playing online than in offline casinos as this helps them to hide their gaming habits from others.

Thus, a quarter of risk group gamblers and a tenth of problem-free players have placed online bets and a fifth of risk group gamblers and 6% of problem-free players have played casino games. The level of exposure to non-cash games among risk group players and problem-free players varies greatly. Problem-free players have almost no experience. Only about 5% such players have ever played slots in online or land-based casinos, while 23% of risk-group players have played online slots and 19% of risk-group players have played slots in land-based casinos. Sports betting frequency among problem gamblers is about four times higher than the betting frequency among problem-free players.

However, the positive news is that, compared to previous years, the gambling frequency of problem gamblers has decreased in both, online and land-based casinos.

Why do Estonians gamble and how well are the players aware of self-exclusion opportunities?

On one hand, people who have been exposed to gambling perceive the desire to win a large sum of money, and on the other hand, they are also attracted by the entertaining nature of gambling (fun pastime). Both reasons are considered important gambling motivators by about half of the gamblers.

A huge number of players gamble in a hope that the money won by gambling may help solve their financial issues.  Many people are also motivated by a news of someone else winning a decent amount. There are also some people, who play with a wish to support the society or charitable activities.

Although lottery is the most popular form of gambling in Estonia, many people, who play lottery, do not consider themselves gamblers. Especially if they do not buy lottery tickets very often.

The players with small gambling problems see gambling as a pleasant pastime and their winning expectations are only slightly above average. However, pathological gamblers tend to view any sort of gambling as a potential solution to their financial problems and tend to make large bets even in seemingly innocent games, such as lottery.

14% of problem gamblers and a quarter of probable pathological gamblers consider gambling a habitual activity.

Awareness of self-exclusion options at online and offline casinos

Approximately two thirds of people, who have gambled, are aware of self-exclusion opportunities. The awareness of self-exclusion options is higher among frequent players, especially among middle-aged male players.

The worrying side of these stats is the fact that many gamblers admit that even after excluding themselves, they have tried to access online casinos using deceptive measure. For example, about a quarter of people, who have self-excluded themselves, have tried to create a new account, posing as their own spouse or relative.

Use of illegal online casinos

Approximately one tenth of Estonian gamblers have tried to open websites of online casinos that are not licensed in Estonia and faced geo-blocking. About half of the people, who faced geo-blocking of unlicensed gambling sites, claim that they looked for a legal gambling site instead, while half of the players found a way to bypass the restrictions.

Frequency of gambling related problems

In recent years, the number of players, whose previously identified problems have worsened, has increased significantly. However, nobody knows the exact numbers. The saddest aspect of this tendency is that only about five percent of all players in the higher risk group acknowledge that they have a problem.

And, to make matters worse, most of the players, who admit they have a problem, do not seek any help or support.  The most popular measure players use to help themselves is self-exclusion. Approximately a quarter of addicted players opt for that option. Estonian government has made it easy for the people to set self-exclusions. By logging into Estonian state portal eesti.ee, every person can exclude themselves from any form of gambling for up to 36 months.

Conclusion

Currently different segments of Estonian gambling market seem to be moving in opposite directions. While the number of players in land-based casinos and the number of offline gamblers in general is constantly decreasing, the number of online gamblers is increasing.

And although quite a few people view this as a negative trend, we are convinced that gambling is a completely normal and acceptable form of entertainment, which, when done responsibly and in moderation, can be an incredibly positive part of our everyday life. The most important thing you can do to keep it that way is observing yourself and others, noticing potential problems and deal with them.

Data and Stats by Mr kasiino Estonia review platform

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