In Ethiopia, Addiction To Sports Betting Affects All Layers Of Society

The madness of sports betting is making headlines in Ethiopia. Passed to the stage of real addiction among many young Ethiopians, they are now in the sights of the authorities, who simply threaten to ban them. At the end of June, the head of youth at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Abebe Haimanot, issued a warning to operators during an interview on national television.

Gambling would cause “a social crisis” who “discourages young people from working and being in control of their lives”, and “leads to depression and suicidal thoughts”. The ministry would therefore like to put an end to it, without specifying when.

The task looks daunting. The government will have to face pressure from gambling lobbies but also from the population, while the practice of sports betting has become deeply rooted in Ethiopian customs and landscape in just under a decade. Everywhere in town, in the capital Addis Ababa or in the provinces, shops are springing up on every street corner. There are more than 2,000 across Ethiopia.

Just take a few steps in Piassa, the historic district of the capital, to come across dozens of small counters belonging to one of the 44 licensed operators in the country. In the cramped room of the Vamos Betting, the four computers are constantly under attack. The players, all young, wait in the vestibule until a place becomes available. It is not uncommon to come across police officers on duty there, or even high school and university students, despite the legal ban on playing before the age of 21.

“Students abandon their studies”

Mintesinote, 29, dissects the eight tickets he has in hand. “It’s special today because it’s Champions League night”, – he jokes. For the trouble, he bet 400 birr (7.50 euros) on around thirty matches; a colossal sum for this construction worker. If he exceptionally won the bet of 9,000 birr in August, he ” usually lose more money [qu’il] won’t win”.

“When you win once, it’s exhilarating, you think you’re the best, you dream about it at night, you reinvest and you lose everything.”

Moreover, he confesses to having squandered all of his earnings by betting every day for a month. “When you win once, it’s exhilarating, you think you’re the best, you dream about it at night, you reinvest and you lose everything”he admits, furious at the idea that the government could ban what has become his favorite pastime.

Source: globeecho.com

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