Most Popular Bookies in Ethiopia

Betting and sports betting in Ethiopia are becoming increasingly popular despite the negative image that betting has had in the past in Ethiopia. The most popular form of betting used to be the national lottery, but that has been overtaken by the heightened interest in sports betting, particularly online sports betting. The advent of the internet coupled with an expansion of telecom services is one of the reasons.

The other reason is the tremendous support for European football clubs, especially those in the Premier League. This demand has caused several local companies to invest in the industry.

Most Popular Bookies in Ethiopia
History of Betting in Ethiopia

History of Betting in Ethiopia

These local companies are mainly located in the capital city of Addis Ababa but are in the process of expanding to a number of major towns in the country. The companies offer land-based as well as online sports betting via websites or mobile apps. There are at least 40 licensed local companies operating, with more in the pipeline.

The industry has invested large sums of money and created thousands of much-needed jobs for local people. In line with this demand, offshore companies also offer online sports betting for football, rugby, athletics, basketball, and other popular sports.

Ethiopia is an ancient country consisting of approximately two-thirds Christian and a sizable Muslim population of about one-third. It has historically been a very conservative country whose population at large has not viewed betting in a favorable light. However, despite that, there have always been informal betting practices taking place between people who knew each other.

The first formal attempt to regulate betting in Ethiopia came in 1961 with the founding of the National Lottery Administration (NLA) by virtue of proclamation No. 183. As the name suggests, it started as the sole provider of the state-owned lottery. It was reorganized in 1981 to be the regulatory body for all activities related to gambling, having the power to issue or withdraw licenses as well as collect licensing fees.

In fact, there was a land-based casino at the Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, but this was shut down by the Dergue regime in the 80s. Two proposals were presented to parliament in 1995 and 2006 to establish land-based casinos, but the proposals were denied.

History of Betting in Ethiopia
Betting Nowadays in Ethiopia

Betting Nowadays in Ethiopia

Another important date in the development of betting in Ethiopia came in 2007 when the NLA was given the power to regulate private lottery companies. This move came as a result of the then government's desire to help fund some of its social and economic policies.

The new law in 2007 led to what some have said is a gray area for online betting in Ethiopia as it had an open-ended definition of what a lottery was. This made many gaming activities fall within the definition of lottery and, therefore, legal if licensed by the NLA.

The first attempt in Ethiopia to set up an online bookie was in 2012 with the establishment of Dagoo Sports Betting. This company did not last long and was shut down because of a lack of internet connectivity which seriously affected its ability to survive. However, the recent partial privatization of the telecom market in Ethiopia has increased internet access and continues to do so, allowing online bookmakers to gain more players.

The most popular sport to bet on is football, especially in the European leagues, including Premier League and Bundesliga. There are also some very attractive welcome bonuses for new Ethiopian players from both domestic and international providers.

Betting Nowadays in Ethiopia
Future of Betting in Ethiopia

Future of Betting in Ethiopia

Indeed, the popularity of online sports betting has caused some concern in the country, especially its effects on the young population. Everything seemed to be in place for the continued growth of the industry, with many investors becoming interested in financing new companies. However, earlier in 2022, there was a move from the Ministry of Youth Personal Development to ban all sports betting, citing numerous surveys that concluded the negative effects it can have on the youth.

These effects included a lack of desire to get a job, family breakups, and mental health issues such as depression and suicidal tendencies. Recently another ministry, the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, has also backed this move.

The NLA has introduced stricter controls in 2022, including a mandatory 1.5 million birr bank guarantee, a cap of 1 million birrs for winners, and increasing the legal age for betting to 21. To complicate matters even further, all physical betting shops have been closed in Bahir Dar, the regional capital of the Amhara region.

This is in response to the civil war in the region, as these betting shops are seen as security threats and possible places for spreading false propaganda concerning the war. All these developments have caused potential investors to take a step back because of all the uncertainty. Although legally licensed companies successfully lobbied the government earlier this year, the future remains uncertain.

Future of Betting in Ethiopia
Betting Acts in Ethiopia

Betting Acts in Ethiopia

The NLA operates under Proclamation No. 183, issued in 1961, which founded the institution and regulates its activities. Proclamation No. 210 in 1981 aimed to regulate all lottery and lottery-related activities, including gambling and issuing or withdrawing licenses as necessary. Perhaps the greatest change came in 2007 with Proclamation No. 535, which now enabled the NLA to regulate private lottery companies.

The definition of lottery was deemed to include any gaming activity, so the sports betting market, including online, was established. This consisted mainly of physical shops due to poor internet problems.

The sports betting market was really accelerating by 2019, so much so that in 2020 the issuing of new licenses was temporarily suspended, and work began on issuing another directive. That directive was the Sports Betting Lottery Directive No. 172/2021. It now made it more expensive for new and existing companies to operate in the market, placed restrictions on where shops could be located, and raised the betting age to 21.

New licenses would now cost 500,000 birrs or 100,000 to renew an existing license in addition to the 1.5 million birr bank guarantee. Physical betting shops must be located at least 500m from any school or religious building.

Betting Acts in Ethiopia
Ethiopian Players' Favorite Sports

Ethiopian Players' Favorite Sports

Football, both domestic and European, is easily the most popular sport to bet on in Ethiopia, whether at a physical betting shop or an online bookie. Quite a lot of the best local bookmakers deal exclusively with football betting and offer every conceivable category of bets to satisfy their punters.

Other popular sports include basketball and athletics, in addition to a number of other international sports. The best Ethiopian sportsbooks offer all the highly sought-after international sports. Apart from sports betting, the country's lotteries are also regularly played by a sizable portion of the population.

Ethiopian Players' Favorite Sports
Best betting Odds for Ethiopian Players

Best betting Odds for Ethiopian Players

Apart from the interest in the local teams, players in Ethiopia also love to bet on European football, with European Champions League, The Premier League, and Bundesliga being firm favorites. To get the best odds for these games, players must research different websites that compare the odds on offer from different companies.

As the odds are liable to change, players have to decide whether they think the odds will improve or not and act accordingly, whether it is pre-match or in-game betting. The most common odds for football are those to win, draw, or away team win. For serious football fans, games in the local leagues and The Premier League have over a hundred betting options to choose from.

For the sizable number of basketball fans in Ethiopia, the NBA is an attractive league to get involved in with its pre-match and in-game odds. Again, it is important for players to research not only online sportsbooks but also how individual teams and players perform.

This will help them to make the best betting decisions. Futures betting can often give the best odds, especially on the winning team in the NBA Finals. There are many options to choose from, including totals, moneylines, point spread, etc.

Best betting Odds for Ethiopian Players
Biggest Local Tournaments and Events

Biggest Local Tournaments and Events

There are three major sporting events held in Ethiopia every year. The Ethiopian Premier League consists of 16 teams competing with each other throughout the season in a double round-robin system. The Great Ethiopian Run is a 10km road race in the capital Addis Ababa founded by a multiple Olympic gold medal winner, Haile Gebreselassie.

This race attracts tens of thousands of participants, both local and international, including top Ethiopian and international athletes. Last but not least is the annual Ethiopian Athletics Championships, covering selected track and field events that have been running since 1971.

Biggest Local Tournaments and Events
Payment Methods in Ethiopia

Payment Methods in Ethiopia

When Ethiopian players are learning how to bet in/from Ethiopia, they need to understand the wide array of payment options available to them. For Ethiopian sportsbooks, there are a lot of mobile money service providers who really have been an important driver in developing sports betting in Ethiopia.

Most of the most popular ones are linked to existing Ethiopian banks, but Telebirr is a mobile money service from Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation developed by Huawei in 2021. The most frequently used providers are CBE-Birr, HelloCash-Lion, Amole, and HelloCash-Wegagen. These providers enable Ethiopian players to easily and securely transfer or receive payments in the local currency.

International sportsbooks licensed in Ethiopia will accept a number of e-wallet options, such as HelloCash-Lion and Wegagen. For offshore, online betting sites, Ethiopian players will need to be in possession of either PayPal, Skrill, Visa, or MasterCard. PayPal and Skrill also allow payments to be made in cryptocurrencies for those who prefer this option.

These providers are safe and secure, but winnings may take 3-5 days before becoming available for withdrawal. There are some fees involved, and players should look at them carefully before deciding to use these platforms. As most of these cards are only available outside of Ethiopia, it limits the number of online sportsbooks available to many Ethiopian players.

Payment Methods in Ethiopia
FAQs

FAQs

Is it legal to use offshore betting sites?

Yes, because currently, the gambling acts in Ethiopia do not regulate offshore betting sites, so it is completely legal for bettors in Ethiopia to bet on offshore betting sites.

Is it safe to bet on offshore betting sites?

This can be a tricky question. It all depends on the legality of the site being played on. Players should look carefully at a site's credentials before playing on them. The sites need to be licensed by recognized, reliable licensing authorities such as the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), etc. If this is the case, they are completely safe to bet on, but gamblers should check if they will be able to receive any winnings by looking at their payment options.

Do I need to pay tax on my winnings in Ethiopia?

Technically, all winnings from gambling are liable for a 15% tax payable to the NLA. However, if players are playing on unregistered offshore sites, winners will not need to pay any tax at all because the sites are unregistered.

Can I use in-play (live betting) betting options?

Very few sites in Ethiopia offer this option as the market is still developing. However, many international offshore sites offer this feature.

What payment options are there?

Lots of e-wallets are available for payment to Ethiopian registered sites. Mobile money providers such as CBE-Birr, HelloCash, Amole, and Telebirr are available on a lot of sites and transfer the local currency. Offshore, international sites will require options such as PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Skrill, etc.

FAQs