A new day is dawning for betting and gambling operators in Ethiopia. Following a massive growth in gambling over recent years, the country’s governing body for betting and gambling, the Ethiopian National Lottery Administration has identified the need for updated measures

These measures will seek to regulate the gambling and betting sector in a more effective and relevant way. 

The Ethiopian market remains a massive drawcard for betting companies and investors from all over the world. However, recent changes in the administrative city of Bahir Dar have led to an order forcing all betting companies to cease operating immediately. 

Security Threats to Blame

The biggest catalyst for the closures has been “security threats”. These threats are reported by the city, which serves as the seat of Ethiopia’s Amhara regional government. 

These closures also happen to follow close on the heels of the National Lottery Administration’s approval of a new directive. The directive will impose much stricter requirements on the betting industry than before. 

According to the new requirements, all operators must deposit an amount of 1.5 million Br as a guarantee to hold on to a valid operating license. What’s more, the new directive increases the fee for a new license from 400,000 Br to half a million Br annually. License renewals have been set at 100,000 Br per year. 

Closures Make No Sense

However, according to National Lottery officials, the closures in Bahir Dar have been nothing short of perplexing. According to officials, no complaints or words of warning were received by betting companies prior to the order to stop operations. 

According to Dessie Dejene, the Director of Licensing and Regulation at the Ethiopian Lottery Administration, there appear to be absolutely no grounds at all for the sudden shutdown. Businesses operate legally and with official licenses, said Dejene. 

Betting companies, however, weren’t the only ones to have received shutdown orders. The city reportedly carried out crackdowns on all businesses considered “security risks”, and for a variety of reasons. According to certain administrative forces in Amhara Regional State, khat and hookah outlets are guilty of corrupting the morals of the country’s youth. 

Local authorities have also expressed the belief that these establishments have come to serve as smoke screens. They’re said to be used to spread false propaganda about the civil war in the northern parts of the country. 

For the moment, it remains unclear whether betting establishments in Bahir Dar will resume business. According to Mayor Dresse Sahilu, operators may possibly resume their activities once the civil unrest in the region has stabilized. 

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