The new Ethiopian Sport Betting Directive

Gambling: the betting or staking of something of value, with the consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event whose result may be determined by chance or accident or have an unexpected result by reason of the bettor’s miscalculation.

In the 21st Century there began a gradual, albeit, irregular, shift in the official attitude towards gambling, from considering it a sin to considering it a vice and a human weakness and, finally, to seeing it as a mostly harmless and even entertaining activity. Additionally, the internet has made many forms of gambling accessible on an unheard-of scale. By the beginning of the 21st century, approximately four out of five people in Western nations gambled at least occasionally. A rough estimate of the amount of money legally wagered annually in the world is about $10 trillion (illegal gambling may exceed even this figure).

The United Kingdom sports betting industry has the most developed laws in the international gaming community; The UK has a well-established culture of sports betting. Many of the online sports books are publicly-traded companies on the London Stock Exchange. The UK sports gambling community also produced the world’s first sports betting exchange, where gamblers do not bet against fixed-odds, but instead wager in a betting pool.

Betting shops dominate the landscape in England, with over 9,000 in total throughout the United Kingdom. All of the best payment methods are allowed in the UK. Visa, MasterCard, PayPal etc..UK sports bettors have the best opportunities, because competition between bookmakers is so fierce. Bookmakers make a substantial contribution to the UK economy, generating over 700 million pounds in taxes annually and employing tens thousands of people.(..)

In Ethiopia, based on Article 4(26) of Council of ministers Investment Regulation No. 474/2020, lottery and sport betting investment is reserved for Domestic Investors. The definition of “domestic investor” is provided under Ethiopian investment proclamation No. 1180/2020 as follows: Ethiopian national; company wholly owned by Ethiopian national; government and public enterprise.

Sport lottery betting activities were widely practiced, and licensing was on the boom, in the first quarter of 2019. However, after a year and licensing 22 Sport betting companies until the end of March 2020, betting come under wider public criticism. The growing concerns and recent media criticisms has forced both betting firms and the government, to call a press conference at the end of March 2020. The concerns include: violating age restrictions, with students being witnessed wearing school uniforms, in betting shops; concern on betting is becoming a bad habit and addictive, that could cause psychological harm. However, within one year of licensed 22 betting companies, National lottery generated six million birr from betting while 20% is said to be contributed to social donations and 15% lottery income tax is deductible from the winners. After much criticism, the national lottery has invited research institutions and universities to conduct research on the concern areas.

The Ethiopian Management Institute held a research and presented a paper with scientific finding with a recommendation for the administration and Revenue minister. Based on the findings and recommendations, the revenue minister has issued a directive, effective 1 September 2021, cited as “Sport Betting lottery Directive No. 172/2021”. On this day, 42 sport betting lottery companies are licensed and operational. The National Lottery Administration earned ETB 107 million birr (around 2.3 million dollar) in 2013 Ethiopia budget year (from 7 July 2020 to 06 August 2021).

The main new developments (rules), included under the new directive, mainly include:

  • Unconditional bank guarantee of ETB 1,5000,000 shall be provided to apply for a new betting license or renewal of license;
  • New sport betting lottery licensing fee amount is set at ETB 500,000; Betting license renewal fee is set at ETB 100,000;
  • Every ticket sale shall be immediately be made known by the administration;
  • Licensee shall deduct 15% of commission from total ticket revenue and 15% of the winning prize amount and pay to the national lottery Administration at the end of every month;
  • The licensee shall provide bank statement every month to the administration;
  • 0.5% total revenue shall be allocated for social contributions;
  • A single contest sport betting prize shall not exceed ETB 1,000,000;
  • Winning prize shall be claimed within a month of the lottery winning sport event day and claimed prize shall be paid to the winner within 15 days of the appearance of the winner;
  • The licensee can’t provide a system problem to deny or decline winning prize money. The licensee shall provide system access code whenever the administration found it necessary to resolve a specific issue;
  • The minimum age for a person to participate in lottery shall be age of 21 and above;
  • Lottery activity shall be conducted 500 meter away from school and religious institution;
    It is prohibited to conduct the lottery in grocery; restaurant; chat chewing place or any entertainment place;

Participating student in a betting while wearing a school uniform is prohibited irrespective of his age;
Sport betting other than a branch permitted by the administration or in contrary of office requirements (standards) issued by the administration is prohibited.(..)

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