On this page you will find information (scroll down) about:
- the Estonian gaming market, particularly regulation/legality of online gaming
- the Estonian language and the challenges of iGaming localisation.
Status and potential of the
Estonian online gaming market
After the collapse of USSR, Estonia proclaimed its independence and started developing different strategies for magnetizing foreign companies to start and grow businesses there. One important strategy was to sow the seeds for a strong gambling market. It all started with a major relaxation of criteria for granting gambling licenses. This was followed by two major juridical events regarding gambling: the first Lottery Act of 1994 and the first Gambling Act of 1995. The two acts functioned as a proper framework, including lottery, casino, betting and poker. However, they soon proved to be obsolete due to the rapid development of technology in the gambling industry.
...it was mandatory that the operator’s servers be located in Estonia. In 2012, this requirement was removed
A new Gambling Act was passed after more than a decade (2008) and created the possibility to regulate online gambling. The Gambling Tax Act – that spells out the taxation model for gambling companies – was passed next year, but it wasn’t until 2010 that Estonian gambling sites were able to run their business. The Estonian market opened further in 2011 to offer foreign companies access to Estonian players. When this happened, it was mandatory that the operator’s servers be located in Estonia. In 2012, this requirement was removed.
Studies show that at least 80% of the adult population has gambled at least once (that is 843 200 Estonians). Lotteries (both via Internet and offline) are the most popular and broadly played form of gambling in Estonia, followed by sports betting, slot machines and games of cards (poker being the most played game among Estonian gamblers).
Lotteries are the most popular and broadly played form
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Challenges of Estonian
The Estonian Gaming Language is mostly derived from the fact that the gaming market is a relatively new market area in Estonia. Therefore there are lot of anglicisms used in game language, especially in poker translations. Estonians are very proud of their language, so they are little by little inventing their own words to describe the gaming translations such as “vaatamine”, meaning “check” or “maja” that means “full house”. Some of these terms have become more popular in Estonian gaming translations and we expect to see more.
Most of the English iGaming terms are directly translated to Estonian language, like “nelik”, which directly means ‘four individuals being four of a kind’ or “õnnemängud”, which directly means ‘games of luck’ and it is used to describe gambling as such.
Generally the Estonian language words are same length or a bit longer than English ones so there should be no big issues with localization gaming related terms in limited amount of space, e.g. on game buttons.
Also there is a special letter “õ” in Estonian that is not present in any other language. There are no significant dialects in Estonian making the gaming translations uniform for whole country. Most Estonians understand English but as mentioned earlier they are also very fond of their language and prefer to use websites in their native language.
Estonians are playing lottery, bingo, keno, Viking Lotto and scratch cards that are operated by the state owned Eesti Loto. The biggest casino chain, Olympic casino, is owned by one of the wealthiest persons in Estonia, and there is an increasing number of live casinos catering for an increasing amount of poker players.
Several online betting companies like Unibet, Optibet, Tonybet etc. have recently launched their sites in Estonian market, with sportsbetting (mostly football, athletics and skiing) being particularly popular. In online casinos the most popular games are high-variety videoslots like Starburst, Gonzos Quest, Blood Suckers, Thunderstruck etc.
Bottom line: The iGaming language in Estonia is new and changing rapidly, so we recommend frequent updates. At All-In Translations we are working with some of the most talented Estonian gaming translators, contact us to learn how we can help you.