Olympic Entertainment Group, an operator of Eastern European casinos and one of few government-approved providers of online gambling sites in Estonia, has reported taking a loss in the second quarter of 2010 – but far less of a loss than in 2009.
In the second quarter of 2010, Olympic reported losses of €790,000. However, last year at this time, the loss was a whopping €3.6 million. Year 2009 was quite a dark period for Olympic, as the company experienced shrinkage that would eventually see it shut down 22 of its 86 casinos spread over eight countries – including all its casinos in Ukraine, where land-based casino gambling was completely banned.
Rules regarding regulation of Internet gambling in Estonia were put into effect on January 1 of this year and Olympic was awarded the very first license, opening up its website on the 21st.
Though the government began issuing licenses to Internet casino operators last year, the law states that foreign-owned websites will not be granted such a license until 2011. An Estonia-based, Playtech-powered Olympic Entertainment Group casino and poker room was the first to be approved by the tax and customs board, and it opened on January 21.
Two other operators have since been approved to provide Estonian poker rooms and casinos online, but Olympic still enjoys a majority share of the market, certainly a factor in their (relatively) successful quarter. Olympic also opened up a mobile casino in July.
Estonia has some of the strictest laws on Internet gambling in Europe. Estonia is proactively blocking online casinos and forces Estonian ISPs to block access to unapproved websites in an attempt to disallow all such gaming except at the three approved companies’ casinos.