Specialists of the 2WinPower company will explain how to launch an iGaming startup in the Baltics, what is so attractive about this territory, and which steps need to be taken to establish a successful and prosperous business.

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Features of the Local Niche Development

Gambling in the Baltics: general info

The Baltics are located in Northern Europe and consist of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

History of the Formation of the Casino Sector

In 2004, these states became full members of the EU, which determined their stable political future and economic prosperity.

The first offline gambling establishments were located in large hotels and were often open only to foreign tourists. Wagering on horse racing was also available. One of the largest hippodromes in the region was located in Riga, the capital of Latvia.

The active development of the market began in the 90s of the last century. At the same time, the first attempts to regulate the niche were made. Thus, in Latvia, a Gambling Commission (Izlozes un azartspelu uzraudzibas inspekcija) was founded in 1998. In the early 2000s, the first licence was issued.

Entertainment for Money in the Modern Baltics

Today, the region can boast of a well-developed service sector, a strong labour market, and a modern IT infrastructure. It is quite easy to launch a business startup here. Entrepreneurs feel comfortable thanks to liberal laws and lower taxes compared to Western Europe.

Advantages of launching an iGaming startup in this area:

  1. Stable growth of the casino niche. According to the Statista international portal, for the period from 2024 to 2028, the annual growth rate (CAGR) will be 4.76%. Analysts predict that in 2028, the GGR of the industry will reach €884 million. The sector demonstrates high return rates and investment profitability, which attracts foreign capital.
  2. Liberal legislation. The government allowed all types of games for money and allowed private companies to offer this kind of service. The exception is lottery draws. Such an activity is carried out by state monopolies. The regulatory framework is fully adapted to the requirements of the European Union, including licensing rules, restrictions on advertising, and the protection of socially vulnerable segments of the population.
  3. High interest in casino solutions. This can be explained by the well-being of locals and clear regulatory rules. The average revenue per user is €1.86 thousand. The increase in ARPU is also affected by the growing penetration of smartphones in the market, the emergence of new genres of entertainment, and minimal restrictions related to the companies’ bonus policies.
  4. Well-developed IT sector. There are many IT hubs and consulting firms working in the region. Entrepreneurs can place their servers in well-protected data centres, rent premises in modern locations, and sign contracts with reliable hosting providers. The Baltic can be characterised by a good digital infrastructure that ensures smooth and uninterrupted transactions.
  5. Low taxes. Estonia is considered a leader in this field. Here, online casino operators pay only 5% of the GGR for the reporting period, and owners of offline establishments pay 10%. The fiscal burden in Lithuania and Latvia is not much higher, which attracts investment from Western Europe.

Over the past 10 years, the Baltics have become home to many top developers of iGaming solutions. Such companies as Playtech, Ezugi, Betgames.tv, Pragmatic Play, Evolution, Playson, NetEnt, and other popular providers are registered here. They opened representative offices, live studios, and customer service centres in the region.


Gambling in Estonia: casino licensing

This thriving market has been regulated since 1995. Initially, the local authorities focused on offline casinos and bookmakers’ offices, and over time, the online entertainment sector was added to the list of legal activities.

The local iGaming niche is showing impressive growth rates:

  • the expected GGR by the end of 2024 is €88.75 million;
  • the predicted GGR by 2028 is €249.4 million;
  • the annual growth rate of iGaming and sports betting is 4.62%;
  • the expected number of adult users in 2028 is 145.2 thousand people;
  • the mobile device penetration rate is 69.2%.

Such rapid development is explained by many factors: a stable regulatory framework, active implementation of technologies, as well as simple and clear licensing rules. A strong economy and a high standard of living also have a positive impact on the market’s growth.

Estonia is one of the most modern states that instantly responds to changes in the users’ preferences. For example, in recent years, live dealer solutions and mobile slots have become incredibly popular. Local legislation permits the operation of mobile and live casinos, which also contributes to the improvement of the sector.

Regulation Rules

Certificates are issued by the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. The validity period of the documents is unlimited.

The government does not oblige entrepreneurs to register a legal entity in Estonia. However, brands must open offices here and place servers in local data centres.

Business owners need to form a minimum authorised capital:

  • €1,000,000 for virtual casinos;
  • €130,000 for betting and eSports portals;
  • €25,000 for skill games.

At the time of filing an application, companies pay a one-time state fee. For a digital platform, this amount is €51,200, and for a virtual bookmaker’s office it is €35,200. The request is considered within 1 month, after which entrepreneurs can legally accept bets from users.

Operators pay only 5% of GGR. Land-based enterprises additionally transfer contributions for each unit of ground equipment.

The fiscal burden on the entertainment sector in the jurisdiction is low compared to other European territories. This creates favourable conditions for launching and scaling iGaming businesses.

Responsible Gambling

The spread of ludomania is a key problem in the local market.

According to a survey by the Kantar Emor web portal, 7% of respondents are at risk. They are close to the state of pathological gambling.

Another important issue is the spread of wagering among minors. 60% of young people from 15 to 19 years old play from time to time, considering gambling a way to earn money rather than entertainment.

In 2019, the government launched a telephone hotline to help addicts. Moreover, the age limit was revised. Access to offline and digital casinos is only open to clients who are 21 years or older. Users over 18 can place bets in bookmakers’ offices, and players over 16 can participate in lottery draws.

The Cultural Endowment non-profit foundation has been operating in the jurisdiction for several years. It receives funds in the form of taxes and licence fees paid by operators. Money is spent on public projects. A part of it is transferred to the Estonian Red Cross.


Casino entertainment here has been regulated since 2006 after the law on gambling and lotteries came into force. The document legalised the activities of offline locations and defined the basics of the online sector, as well as the rules for those entrepreneurs who want to obtain a local permit.

The Latvian market is quite stable. It has shown smooth growth over the last 10 years. During the pandemic, the land-based sector suffered minimal losses thanks to the competent policies of the authorities and a partial reorientation to the online sector.

Currently, digital betting holds the leadership in the market. The segment includes iGaming platforms, bookmakers’ offices, and sweepstakes. The growth of virtual gambling in Latvia can be explained by the country’s strong economy and increases in the population’s income.

Another success factor is the growing penetration of smartphones and tablets, as well as the audience’s desire for comfortable and safe gameplay.

All local offline casinos are located in the capital. The most famous and visited establishments are:

  • Kazino 777;
  • Olympic Voodoo;
  • SL Casino Riga.

The Royal Casino Spa & Hotel Resort complex is recognised as the largest entertainment centre in the Baltics. It contains a hotel, casino, concert hall, and several nightclubs.

How to Launch an iGaming Startup

Main provisions of the local law that regulates the industry:

  • Entertainment for money includes card games, roulette, dice, bingo, slots, and sweepstakes. The rules for organising and conducting lotteries are specified separately.
  • Companies registered in Latvia with an authorised capital of €1,400,000 have the right to become casino operators. The share of foreign funds cannot exceed 49%, except in cases when investments belong to residents from EU countries.
  • To legally work in the market, businessmen need to obtain a licence. The document is valid indefinitely but it must be updated every year on the regulator’s official website.
  • Owners of offline and digital projects are required to identify all visitors and maintain electronic registers. Prize money up to €720 is paid immediately, from €720 to €14,300 within 24 hours, and above — €14,300. It must be done within 30 calendar days.
  • The return on slot machines in land-based locations, electronic roulette, and digital solutions on iGaming platforms should not fall below 80%.

Cost of Starting a Business

The government grants a complex licence allowing entrepreneurs to manage physical and virtual projects simultaneously. The price of the certificate is €427,000. It is also possible to obtain a permit to start a gaming site by paying €200,000.

An annual update of any type of document will cost €37,000.

The local authorities have introduced a single tax rate for all industry representatives. Companies pay 10% of their GGR. Funds must be transferred every month.

The regulator is actively fighting illegal portals. More than 2,000 domain addresses of digital platforms, sportsbook resources, poker rooms, and website mirrors were blacklisted. This is how the jurisdiction provides support to legal enterprises that work honestly and pay taxes regularly.

According to a study by the Ministry of Health of Latvia (VM), 70,000 people, or 6% of the population, suffer from ludomania. Therefore, one of the government’s priorities is the introduction of mechanisms to protect socially vulnerable categories of the population.

At the beginning of 2023, the authorities launched a unified register of self-excluded persons. Players can enter their data and limit access to casino solutions for 1 year.


Gambling in Lithuania: key features

Entertainment for money has been regulated since 2001 by a special law and is supervised by the Gaming Control Authority.

Experts predict that by the end of 2024, the GGR will reach €366.8 million. About 62.5% of revenue will come from the online sector, while offline and sportsbook niches will generate 37.5%.

The average profit of digital casinos from one user is €2,410. This is the highest figure in the Baltics.

Features of Regulation

All types of gambling in Lithuania are legal. Until recently, virtual sports did not belong to this category, but since 2020, they have been recognised as a betting activity.

Any company with local registration and a physical office in the country can apply for a permit.

Legal entities must:

  • confirm the availability of authorised capital of €1,000,000;
  • deposit a bank guarantee in the amount of €72,400;
  • pay for a licence (€500,000) to launch a virtual platform.

The government has introduced a fixed gaming tax rate. It is necessary to pay 13% of GGR.

Offline establishments that offer slot machines are located in the capital. Many of them work in popular hotels and entertainment complexes, attracting both the country’s residents and tourists.

In Lithuania, all offline gambling products are divided into 2 groups:

  • slots with unlimited bets and payouts.
  • solutions where the bid is €0.50 per spin and the prize is limited to 200 times the base cost of one rotation of the reels.

The profitability from the first category games is traditionally higher. These options attract customers because of huge payouts and access to progressive jackpots.

Adherence to Responsible Gambling Principles

The Lithuanian legal framework is constantly updated. The latest amendments were introduced in 2022. Their aim was to tighten advertising and combat money laundering, as well as terrorism financing. A separate legislation is devoted to the regulation of table entertainment with live dealers. Its popularity is growing rapidly.

The country has a complete ban on the promotion of casino products, and there are also administrative penalties for non-compliance with regulatory requirements. In 2023, two large Lithuanian operators, Baltic Bet and Top Sport, were fined for violating advertising rules. The total amount of sanctions was €114,644.

Since 2016, the National Register of Self-Exclusion has been operating in the jurisdiction. At the beginning of 2024, more than 11 thousand people were registered in it.

The Main Things about the Growth of Gambling in the Region

The Baltics are a favourable market for launching and scaling a casino business.
  • Its main advantages are comfortable licensing conditions and low taxes. This attracts foreign capital, thanks to which the local market demonstrates impressive growth. Positive aspects also include a high standard of living, European legislation, and well-developed digital infrastructure.
  • It is quite profitable to implement a gambling project in Estonia. There are minimal fiscal rates (5%) and flexible requirements for permit applicants. The overall certification cost is the lowest in the region.
  • The Latvian market is showing stable growth. Entrepreneurs can obtain a complex licence and provide services both offline and on the Internet.
  • All types of entertainment for money are allowed in Lithuania, but the highest profits come from gaming and betting sites. The government actively implements responsible gambling measures and fights illegal platforms and casino product promotion.
The 2WinPower studio is your reliable assistant and business partner in the gambling market. From us, it is possible to order a turnkey platform, a multitasking sportsbook portal, a certified White Label project, and other useful solutions.

We also offer the following useful services:

  • creation of HTML5 slots based on individual sketches;
  • installation of payment software;
  • connection of security modules;
  • promotion of iGaming resources;
  • writing a business plan, and much more.

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Enjoy the benefits of cooperation and start your own gaming business with 2WinPower today:
  • e-mail: info@2wpower.com
  • Skype: twowinpower
  • Telegram: @Win2Power
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