Ethiopia is a country located in the Horn of Africa. An interesting fact about it is that it is one out of only two countries that have managed to preserve their sovereignty when the continent was colonized by Europeans in the 19th century.

Like several other African countries, Ethiopia is relatively poor. But, what would surprise many people is that both land-based gambling and the iGaming industry are regulated by law. Even though statistics have shown that not a lot of people have Internet access, and even fewer people have mobile phones through which they can access online casinos, those that are able to play them, are extremely fond of these types of games.

Let’s check out the gambling regulations for both land-based and online gambling in this country.

Who Regulates Gambling in Ethiopia?

Both land-based and online gambling activities are legal in Ethiopia. The regulatory body which is in charge of overseeing and controlling all gambling-related activities in Ethiopia is the National Lottery Administration or just NLA. This authority was established back in 1961 and it began operating in 1981. Every land-based casino must register and obtain a license from the NLA if they want to offer their services to the residents of Ethiopia legally. 

The National Lottery Administration regulates all types of gambling games – poker, slots, bingo, lottery, video poker, etc. Now, let’s see what are the specific regulations for land-based casinos and online casinos. 

Land-Based Casinos

As we mentioned earlier, land-based casinos must obtain a license from the National Lottery Administration in order to operate. The first legal online casino in Ethiopia was the Ghion Hotel and Casino, which opened its doors in the 80s. 

This resort still operates to this day, but the problem is that its casino is not that big and it cannot accommodate many players. Not only that, but this is the only land-based casino in the whole country. The lack of physical facilities is what made online casinos breach the market much easier, but as we are about to see, they too face certain difficulties.  

Online Casinos 

Online casino regulations are not too specific and detailed. Even though online casinos are not allowed to be based in Ethiopia, the players are more than welcome to access off-shore sites. The government will not pursue charges against the players for participating in these types of activities. Additionally, the government does not issue and state or local license to online casino operators.

The big problem with online gambling in Ethiopia is that the residents are extremely poor and statistics have shown that only 15% of the population has a stable Internet connection. Not only that, but the number of people that own mobile phones equals to around 3% of the total population. As you can see, even though online gambling is becoming popular in Ethiopia, the number of players who can access online casinos is very limited. 

Most Popular Casino Games in Ethiopia

Those that do have stable access to the Internet prefer slot games. SO, if you have questions such as ‘Can I play online slots’ in Ethiopia, the answer is yes. All you have to do is register at an online casino and make your first deposit. 

Bingo and poker also deserve a mention. Bingo is one of the oldest known games of chance in Ethiopia and the elderly population is more than open to playing this game. As for poker, this is a classic casino game that is loved in every corner of the planet. Since this game requires a lot of skill, rather than luck, Ethiopians are willing to test their knowledge against other players. 

Future of Gambling in Ethiopia 

The future of gambling in Ethiopia is really shady. The good thing about these activities is that the government has been presenting new regulations which will help more people gain access to the Internet. Better access means that more players will be able to access online casinos and enjoy the latest casino games. 

However, the problem is that since this is a relatively poor country that has numerous issues to solve, we highly doubt that Internet access will be among the top priorities. Hence, only time will tell what the future of gambling in Ethiopia will be.