Gambling is legal in Ethiopia, at least in some forms. The main regulating body of gambling in Ethiopia is the National Lottery Administration. The National Lottery Administration is Ethiopia’s first national lottery, founded in 1961 by Proclamation number 183.
At first, the National Lottery Administration operated as a conventional lottery, but it was reorganised in 1981. Since then, it has been tasked with regulating and controlling all gambling-related activities. The National Lottery Administration has the authority to issue and withdraw permits, as well as to collect the licensing fees.*
Although the legal framework for operating casinos and other gambling establishments exists, gambling is not as widespread in Ethiopia as in other parts of the world, or neighbouring countries even. Apart from casual games, there are very few opportunities to gamble.
A way for Ethiopian gamblers to participate in games could be through the internet, as there are no laws prohibiting or regulating online gambling within the country. However, the main reason for this is most likely the fact that the internet penetration rate in Ethiopia is about 5%, making online gambling a valid option for very few locals.
*Source: National Lottery Administration
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- Casino gambling in Ethiopia
- Bingo in Ethiopia
- Poker in Ethiopia
- Sports betting in Ethiopia
- Lottery in Ethiopia
- Bitcoin gambling in Ethiopia
- Online gambling websites accepting players from Ethiopia
Casino gambling in Ethiopia
Online casino gambling in Ethiopia: unregulated
Casino gambling is legal in Ethiopia. Casino operators must apply for a licence in order to be allowed to provide gambling services legally. In accordance with the criminal code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, operating casinos without authorisation is punishable by a fine or imprisonment.*
Casino licences are issued by the National Lottery Administration, which also collects licensing fees. Currently there is a single land-based casino in operation in Ethiopia. The Ghion Hotel & Casino is located in the Capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. However, this is a very small casino with rather few games available.
With the limited options for land-based casino gambling in Ethiopia, online gambling could be a great opportunity for locals. As online casino gambling is not specifically regulated, it is unclear whether the regulation banning unauthorised casinos applies to online platforms as well.
Either way, there are currently no online casinos based or licensed in Ethiopia. Even if, in theory, the gambling regulation applies to online casinos as well, the Ethiopian government has taken no steps to prevent foreign online gambling sites from offering their services within the country. As a result, locals with access to the internet are free to play in international online casinos.
Bingo in Ethiopia
Online bingo in Ethiopia: unregulated
While bingo is a very popular game in most English-speaking countries, it is practically unknown in most African countries. It is no different in Ethiopia. Bingo is most likely legal, though it is not specifically regulated by the gambling laws. Organising bingo games would most likely require a gambling permit issued by the National Lottery Administration. However, currently there are no bingo halls in Ethiopia.
The National Lottery Administration does offer a game called Bingo Lottery, though there is no information on exactly what type of game it is. There are no online bingo sites based or licensed in Ethiopia. Locals with access to the internet are free to play on international bingo sites, as there is no law preventing them from doing so.
Poker in Ethiopia
Online Poker in Ethiopia: unregulated
Poker is legal in Ethiopia, and is most likely regulated by the same gambling laws as casino games are. Poker is often excluded from gambling, as it is not purely a game of chance. However, the Ethiopian gambling laws include “playing cards” among the games that are regulated by the National Lottery Administration.
Poker operators in Ethiopia are required to obtain gambling permits from this body. Currently there are no dedicated poker halls in Ethiopia, though there might be some casual games available. There are also no online poker sites based in the country. Still, local players are free to access international online poker sites.
Sports betting in Ethiopia
Online sports betting in Ethiopia: unregulated
Sport betting is legal in Ethiopia, and it is also under the authority of the National Lottery Administration. Practically all countries in the world have a tradition of some form of sports betting, though there is no word about any organised sports betting operators in Ethiopia.
In 2012 Dagoo Sports Betting PLC received a licence from the National Lottery Administration to provide sports betting. The aim was to introduce sports betting, specifically online sports betting to Ethiopia. However, the website of Dagoo Sports Betting PLC is no longer available, which means there are currently no licensed online sportsbooks in Ethiopia. Locals are free to wager on international online sports betting sites.
Lottery in Ethiopia
Online lottery in Ethiopia: unregulated
Lottery is legal in Ethiopia, and is the most widespread form of gambling in the country. Lottery is a monopoly in Ethiopia, run by the state-owned National Lottery Administration. The Administration was founded in 1961, and has also been tasked with supervising other forms of gambling in 1981.
The National Lottery Administration offers several lottery games including the Tombolla lottery, a type of raffle, where participants may win a house or a car. Lottery tickets are available at physical retailers, of which currently 57 are listed.
The games offered by the National Lottery Administration are not available online. There are also no other online lottery operators in Ethiopia. Locals are free to participate in international online lottery draws that are available to them.
Bitcoin gambling in Ethiopia
Bitcoin gambling in Ethiopia: unregulated
Bitcoin gambling is not specifically regulated by Ethiopian laws. There is also no information on the legality of the cryptocurrency itself. There are certainly no Bitcoin casinos based in Ethiopia, but locals with access to the internet are free to play in international Bitcoin casinos.
Online gambling websites accepting players from Ethiopia
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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.
Last updated: 2015. 12. 14.