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Ethiopia wants to outlaw sports betting

The Ministry of Women and Social Affairs of Ethiopia has stated its support for a total ban on sports betting in order to protect the nation's young and prevent a "economic and social calamity."

Abebe Haymanot, a spokesperson of the Ministry for 'Youth Development,' alerted FANA, Ethiopia's national broadcaster, that "efforts were ongoing to outlaw sports betting."

Haymanot asserted that the Ministry was backed by "different initiatives and debate forums" that sought to prevent the "degradation of sports."

The Ministry stated that it had undertaken a number of studies that revealed the dangers that sports betting brought to Ethiopia's young, such as "lowering productivity and producing psychological issues such as anxiety, sadness, and suicide."

At the beginning of the year, the Ministry spearheaded demands for the government to prohibit sports betting. Local betting companies who contended "betting is not gambling" eventually foiled their efforts.

In support of a complete prohibition, the Ministry cited its investigation of betting shops that violated age restrictions, noting the fact that "children in school uniforms had been discovered in betting dens."

"The Ministry has proposed the adoption of procedural norms or outright prohibition of gambling."

Despite implementing new licencing and tax regulations in 2020, the Ministry said that the National Lottery Administration (NLA) lacked the capacity to supervise Ethiopia's betting establishments.

As a result of legislative changes in 2020, the NLA was required to split sports betting licencing from lottery licencing, and betting companies were required to get independent licences.

The NLA replied to criticism of its inactivity by asserting that it had accomplished its policy goals of licencing Ethiopian bookmakers and guaranteeing that operators pay a 15 percent tax on monthly gains and a 0.5 percent social welfare contribution.


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