The legality of sport betting in Ethiopia

The practice of gaming and gambling in most of Ethiopian society is labeled as unlawful, immoral, and unethical. Regardless of this perception gaming and gambling business specifically sport betting business is recently started and developing rapidly in various cities of Ethiopia. Currently, licensed sport betting companies in the country are 46 in number.

In relation to the law governing gaming and gambling, the first national lottery proclamation was enacted in 1953, which makes lottery a legitimate activity with government monopoly. As of July 2007, the Ethiopian lawmakers wanted to involve the private sector in the area of Lottery on the basis of the market-oriented economic policy of the government. Accordingly, National Lottery Administration Re-establishment Proclamation No.535/2007 has been granted the National Lottery Administration (NLA) to carry out lottery activities alongside issuing license and regulating the conduct of lottery activities practiced by the private sector.

As per Article 5 of the proclamation NLA has two main objectives. The first one is through undertaking lottery activities to generate revenue and the second objective is, to supervise lottery activities. Generating revenue could contribute in financing the country's economic and social development programs.

In its definition of lottery under Article 2(1) the proclamation incorporates ‘sport betting lottery’ as one gaming activity.

"lottery" means any game or activity in which the prize winner is determined by chance, drawing of lots or by any other means and includes tombola or raffle, lotto, toto, instant lottery, number lottery, multiple prize lottery, promotional lottery, bingo, sport betting lottery and other similar activities.

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