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.