Ethiopia's official name is the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, but for a long time, it was known as Abyssinia. It is located on the eastern tip of the African continent, the so-called Horn of Africa. The country borders Sudan to the west, Eritrea to the north, the Republic of Djibouti and Somalia to the east, and Kenya to the south. The country is known for its diverse culture and 86 different spoken languages. As Ethiopia is considered to be among the poorest in the world, online gambling not very widespread. This is also due to the fact that only about 15 percent of the population has access to the internet. Let’s explore the regulations here…
Gambling in Ethiopia is fully legal, and you can choose between many licensed land-based casinos. However, you should be cautious as even licensed casinos have a dubious reputation at best. Due to a large amount of corruption in the country, it is hard to know which casinos can be trusted with your money. Generally, we recommend avoiding the land-based options. The safer choices are foreign-based online casinos that are licensed by more trusted regulatory authorities abroad. Many European casino operators typically accept players from Ethiopia.
We recommend checking out our GoodLuckMate top lists and online casino reviews to get a good overview of what sites are best suited to players from Ethiopia.
In theory, all gambling activities in the country are regulated by the National Lottery Administration of Ethiopia (NLA). The National Lottery Administration was founded in 1961 and is also in control of casino games such as slot machines, poker, blackjack, and roulette. This means gambling is fully legal in the country. The problem is, that despite all regulations, it is not a safe environment for players. Due to widespread corruption within the country, many casinos and gambling halls have a shady reputation. For that reason, the license doesn’t really mean much in terms of the quality of service one can expect.
Although the National Lottery Administration of Ethiopia can potentially license online casinos as well, this hasn’t materialized yet. Online gambling is not explicitly regulated. This means that citizens of the country are free to play at international online casinos that are registered and regulated abroad. Considering the poor state of player protection and oversight of local casinos this is a good thing for all gamblers from Ethiopia. Foreign online casinos are much safer and offer a reliable alternative.
Many international online casinos accept players from Ethiopia. It is possible to sign up without any issues. The only catch is that currently none of them is specifically catering to the Ethiopian market. As a result, you cannot expect any localization of the casino sites for either of the many languages spoken in the country. This also means that players are forced to make do with the English version of the casino. International online casinos offer customers support in several languages, but we are not aware of any operator that is supporting any of the official languages of Ethiopia.
Most bonus offers are designed for the international market and can therefore be claimed without a problem. However, we recommend carefully reading through the terms and conditions and bonus terms to make sure that you are eligible before signing up for a new casino account. It might be a bit tricky for most players to make a deposit, too, as many Ethiopians do not have access to credit cards and bank accounts. Unfortunately, there aren’t any suitable alternatives except for cryptocurrencies which impose their own challenges in a cash-driven society.
All local casinos that are licensed by the National Lottery Administration of Ethiopia accept Ethiopian birr. It is also possible to participate in the national lottery in the local currency. It is worth mentioning that most places only accept cash. ATMs and currency exchanges are present in some facilities but this is not always the case. It doesn’t come as a surprise that internationally-licensed online casinos do not support Ethiopian birr. You will have to resort to the euro or the US dollar (and the conversion fees) if you want to play online from Ethiopia.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide you with a comprehensive list of local casinos in Ethiopia. While there are plenty of options in the country, many of them remain unknown for international tourists, and information about these kinds of facilities is not readily available to the general public. At the time of writing, we are aware of two hotels that have a casino attached to them. These are the Paradise Hotel and the LBS Hotel in Debre Markos. The standards are relatively low, and we recommend avoiding local casinos because of their questionable integrity. As previously mentioned, the best way to gamble in Ethiopia is, therefore, through internationally licensed and regulated online casinos based in Malta, Curaçao, Gibraltar, or Kahnawake.
A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.
Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.
If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.
The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.
The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.
Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.
The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.
The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.