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Ethiopia – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
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.
- Check the jurisdiction of the online casino
- Does the casino accept players from Ethiopia?
- Do you have access to the accepted payment methods?
- Is the casino properly licensed to ensure fair gaming?
- Casinos generally only accept players over the age of 18
- Land-based casinos in Ethiopia are often shady
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.