Las Vegas is a city best-known for its casinos and entertainment that never stops. It is a place synonymous with gambling, but it would appear that it has met, if not its match, then its successor in Europe. So, now would be a good time to forego our devices and promo codes, like the LeoVegas Bonus Code, and discuss Estonia, the Las Vegas of Europe.
The Republic of Estonia
Some people may not have even heard of Estonia and, to be honest, it’s not much of a surprise. It is a small country in Europe, nestled between Finland, Sweden, Latvia, and Russia. It was one of the nations that belonged to the Soviet Union. In fact, during WWII, it frequently changed hands between the Germans and the Russians.
So, why would we compare a small European country to a large American city, especially when you consider the fact that the entire population of Estonia is about two times that of Vegas? Well, as it turns out, gambling is a big deal here.
Casinos and Taxes
Casinos in Estonia came to be when Estonia became a pioneer of tax reform by introducing a flat tax in 1994. The tax had a uniform rate of 26%, regardless of a person’s income. The percentage has since dropped several times, only to settle at 21% in 2008. Why is this important? There are two reasons.
First of all, those that are more affluent pay less in the long run, especially when you consider other taxes that can be avoided. That means that the business owners are already at an advantage. Secondly, at the time of writing, the gambling tax in Estonia amounts to 5% of the net winnings. Now, if you were a gambler, you would probably consider those odds. Paying 5% of what you may win can sound tempting to anyone who has to pay 21% of what they earn, especially when people neglect the real odds.
Because of these tax rates, there have been more than 18 companies that jumped into the entertainment industry, each with their own casinos. The aftermath is that many Estonians are facing the same problems as the Vegas locals – more than 5% of the population between 2000 and 2005 became addicts and 4 out of 5 people in this timeframe have experimented with gambling.
What Does That Mean?
Estonia has a rich gambling culture. Despite the fact that the lotteries can only be held for charities, casinos, whether online or offline, are basically a free-for-all. The regulations regarding licensing and control of casinos are very lax. To put it simply, the entire country has the same feel as Vegas – a lot of flair, dashing lights, and promises at a chance of winning big that make the majority of the population okay with gambling as an everyday aspect of life.
To be fair, this is something that can be quite fun – if done responsibly. The government of Estonia is still finding trouble with introducing proper regulation and its implementation to curb problematic gambling. It is, much like Vegas, a world in its own right.