Ethiopia untapped gambling industry

Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa, in northeast Africa, sharing a large border with Eritrea. Ethiopia is a landlocked country, meaning it has no coastline.

Ethiopia is the second-most populous nation in Africa of 109 million residents in 2018, behind Nigeria. The country’s landscape is very diverse, with a desert in the east and tropical forest in the west. Gambling is legal in Ethiopia, at least in the most common forms. The body charge in regulating gambling in the country is the National Lottery Administration which has been tasked with regulating and controlling all gambling-related activities. The National Lottery Administration has the authority to issue withdraw permits, as well as to collect the licensing fees.

Although the legal framework for operating casino, sports betting and other gambling establishments exists, gambling is not as widespread in Ethiopia as in other parts of the world. However, still, it is emerging, unlike the other African countries in the gambling space. Indeed there is only one legal land-based casino located in the city of Addis Ababa population of 52.8 million residents. In contrast, Ethiopia’s youth population is an incredible asset, and untapped resources for possible growth 41 per cent is under the age of 15. More than 28 per cent is aged 15 to 29.

Sports betting in Ethiopia are a recent phenomenon, and it became legal in 2012. The industry is still fledgeling, and there is a massive gap in the market. However, there has been an assortment of sportsbook operators have tried to establish a market share, but most have failed to deliver. Still, in that same 2012 Dagoo Sports Betting Plc received a license from the

National Lottery Administration.

The aim was to provide online sports betting; indeed, the online sports betting platform is no longer in operation due to poor internet connectivity in the country. However, there have been a handful of new platforms that are trying to shape the Ethiopia online sports betting industry, but as stated above the challenges facing the country is the poor internet connections. There is an approximately 5 per cent internet coverage that is consistent in the country, and these conditions do not favour online internet sports betting has the country is still yet to privatize the telecommunication sector which is solely by state-owned Ethio Telecom. Online sports betting marketplace is extremely low.

However, there is a new bread of sports betting companies looking to make a mark with the likes of Abyssinia Bet, Anbessa Bet, GLX win and Hulubet that are making strides in the retail scene. There has been a spurt growth in the retail betting market, with physical shops starting to make their presence felt in the country. Abyssinia bet is one of the most well-known and launched amid in January 2019.

Therefore football is the most followed sports in the country, for placing wagers, while there is also interest in other codes such as Cricket and Tennis among others. However, all betting companies must be obliged to give 20 per cent of their nett profits to sports institution and clubs.

Economy & Human Development Index (HDI)

Ethiopia is one of the fastest-growing economies in the region. However, the IMF’s report Ethiopia with a growth per capital has been 7.7% per year with an income of $790. Ethiopia aims to reach lower-middle-income status by 2025. Ethiopia’s economy experienced strong, broad-based growth grew by 9.5 and 9.9 per cent a year from 2007/08 to 2017/18 according to IMF and World Bank data, compared to a regional average of 5.4 per cent. Ethiopia’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth has been an average of 9.5 per cent per year during 2010/ 2019 the highest in the world, according to World Economic Outlook.

However, higher economic growth brought with it positive trends in poverty reduction in both urban and rural areas. The share of the population living below the national poverty line decreased from 30% in 2011 to 24% in 2016. The government is implementing the second phase of its Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP11) will run to 2019/2020. GTP 11 aims to continue expanding physical infrastructure through public investments and to transform the country into a manufacturing hub. GTP11 targets an average of 11 per cent GDP growth annually and in line with the manufacturing strategy. The Ethiopia assessment of progress in HDIs, the 2019 Human Development Report includes recalculated HDIs from 1990 to 2018 using consistent series of Data. Ethiopia’s HDI value for 2018 is 0.470, which put the country in the low human development category, positioning it at 173 out of 189 countries.

What the Future Holds

The online betting expected to experience high growth in a few years as the government is moving towards privatising some of the government-owned resources and are ready to give more attention to privatising the telecommunication sector. As other African countries are adopting the era of digital transformation in all sectors of the economy, which has been vital to the growth of sports betting in Africa and it is coupled with the mobile phone penetration in the region.

According to GSMA, the mobile phone market has the potential to add over $150 billion in value to sub-Saharan Africa’s economy by 2022.

Therefore it is the equivalent to almost 8% of regional GDP. Key to unlocking this economic value, however, is the adoption of innovative and cost-effective solutions that are not restricted by existing infrastructure or topography. Though, if online gambling platform fully harnessed in this nation, it could play a huge role in generating another source of revenue to the developments of the Ethiopian sport.

Article by Adeleye Awakan
Associate/Editor Africa’s digital gaming news portal. For consultant, Africa gambling space, Bookmaker’s review, Content, thoughtful leadership article Africa gambling industry: feel free to reach me [email protected], Linkedin Adeleye Awakan.

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