In 2021, Lithuania, a neighboring country of Estonia, implemented a complete ban on all gambling advertisements. The newly-elected government in Estonia is expected to follow suit and impose stringent regulations on gambling promotion.
Reports from local media suggest that Estonia is likely to follow in the footsteps of nearby Lithuania and introduce a strict ban on all forms of gambling advertising. The newly-formed coalition government, comprised of the Reform Party, Social Democrats, and Eesti 200, is reportedly inclined to at least impose limitations on gambling advertisements in the country.
Kaja Kallas will continue to serve as the Prime Minister of Estonia and has expressed her commitment to enhancing national security in response to the threat posed by Russia. However, it is known that Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets of the Social Democrats (SDE) is supportive of implementing a comprehensive ban on gambling advertisements, along with a ban on payday loans.
In an interview with the state broadcaster EER, Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets has expressed his view that the existing advertising regulations for gambling are too permissive, and he believes that stricter restrictions are necessary to address the issue of problem gambling. The newly-formed coalition government has also stated its intention to bolster gambling addiction counseling services as part of its efforts to address the impact of gambling addiction in Estonia.
Lauri Läänemets acknowledged that individuals with gambling addiction often struggle to break free from the cycle, which can have detrimental effects on families. However, he acknowledged that implementing an outright ban on gambling advertisements may potentially clash with sports organizations and clubs, citing the example of Tallinn’s Saku Hall, which is currently named the Unibet Arena as part of a sponsorship deal with the Kindred brand.
Tõnis Rüütel, the Director of the Estonian Gaming Operator Association (EHKL), stated that the gambling operators in Estonia are willing to collaborate with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to update the advertising laws pertaining to the industry. He mentioned that there are plans to hold meetings with Kristi Talvingo, the Director of the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority, which is responsible for regulating the gambling sector in Estonia. This indicates a willingness from the industry to engage in discussions and potentially work towards modernizing the advertising regulations in the country.
In Lithuania, the Gambling Supervisory Authority has been actively imposing fines for violations of the stringent ban on gambling advertising that was implemented in 2021. One recent example is the €25,000 fine levied on Top Sport for sending an email to customers that contained information and links related to its mobile apps and website. This highlights the enforcement efforts in Lithuania to uphold the strict regulations on gambling advertising and penalize any breaches accordingly.