The Legal and Institutional Framework for the Regulation of Sports Betting in Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Over the last two years sports betting has expanded rapidly in Ethiopia. The speedy expansion has sparked controversies among stakeholders. The media is reporting that the business is fostering addiction and drawing minors. The Ministry of Women, Children and Youth is also lobbying to make the business banned legally claiming it is a harmful gambling practice. The National lottery Administration (NLA), the regulator of the sector, however, has been arguing that sports betting is no gambling and is conducted under its regulation on a license base. This thesis presents an analysis of the Ethiopian legal and institutional framework governing the regulation of sports betting and the general objective is to evaluate its adequacy to prevent or manage the potential vices of the business. The study particularly asks whether the legal framework adequately protects minors and whether it has sufficient rules to prevent addiction and money laundering. The analysis is mainly based on a review of literature, globally recommended best practices, and countries’ experiences. The paper argues that sports betting is a pure commercial gambling service, and with all its positive contribution in terms of revenue and job creation, it also has all the potential to result in serious social and economical crises unless it is properly regulated. The analysis on the issue proved that the existing legal framework in Ethiopia has many gaps and is insufficient to effectively prevent the possible side impacts of sports betting. And the current regulatory institution lacks the appropriate structure, independence, and sufficient powers and responsibilities. On this base, the study recommended a comprehensive policy; legal and institutional reform that enhance the overall regulatory framework and will help to resolve the specific problems identified in the paper.