Up to 70 casinos likely to close doors in January in Estonia

New restrictions and falling sales mean that up to 70 Estonian casinos are expected to close doors in January

Tõnis Rüütel, head of the Estonian Association of Casinos Operators, told Eesti Päevaleht that the casino business is like any other business that is suffering from the current economic slowdown.

“Almost all operators have been losing money for the last two quarters and the third quarter should be no different,” said Rüütel.

Since spring, 15 casinos have already closed doors. “One consequence of this is that casino operators will pay about 100 million kroons less in the state budget in 2008,” said Rüütel.

Rüütel said that new restrictions will enter into force in January that will force between 60 and 70 casinos to close doors since they will not have the minimum required number of slot machines. “I cannot say how many more will go out of business because of slow business,” said Rüütel.

Finance Ministry said in comment that according to their estimations, up to 20 gaming locations could close doors because of new restrictions. “In the last 2.5 years alone the number of slot machines has gone up 70 percent,” said the official.

Since 2010, casino operators will start paying 10,000 kroons in tax per slot machine a month from the current 7,000 kroons. This is expected to boost the state budget by 210 million kroons in comparison with 2009.