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SocietyBetting on the unreal

Betting on the unreal

Ethiopia’s betting market has experienced rapid expansion in a short period of time, challenging early projections about the potential size of the market. The first betting shops to open their doors around a decade ago helped fuel a taste for new recreational activities amongst consumers.

Since those early days, the industry has branched out significantly. Storefronts providing sports betting and other gambling services have proliferated across major towns and cities. At the same time, offerings have diversified – especially with the emergence of virtual betting apps catering to mobile users. These platforms have found a highly engaged young audience willing to place wagers on simulated games.

Addis Ababa’s Bole neighborhood has seen a proliferation of gambling establishments targeting the growing virtual betting market. One outlet located here is OG Betting, situated near Brass MCH Hospital. On a typical afternoon, a steady stream of customers flows in and out of the small 30 square meter storefront.

The busy scene inside is a testament to the rapid uptake of virtual betting. “Results come through every three minutes, so you find out quickly if you’ve won or lost,” says frequent patron Getnet Mareg, 34.

The near-instant gratification offered by simulated games without requiring follow of real sports has proven hugely appealing.

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An experienced bettor, Getnet has placed wagers each day for over a year through OG Betting’s virtual platforms. He recalls his biggest win yielded a 4,000 birr payout.

Given formats that allow constant betting action, many patrons like Getnet have found virtual gambling fills idle hours in a stimulating—and potentially profitable—manner. This surreal new arena of virtual sports betting exists in a realm where nothing is real and money disappears into the digital ether.

In the virtual betting landscape, completely fabricated sports simulations have replaced actual athletic competitions and events. Using computer algorithms and random number generators, bookmakers have created digital proxies of football, tennis, horse racing, and more to populate these imaginary arenas.

Without genuine players, cars or horses governed by human choices and limitations, every meaningless movement and outcome is predetermined by code. Bettors wager real cash on outcomes that were never in question to begin with, as each simulated contest is totally artificial and definitively not subject to the uncertainties of real sports.

It is a bizarre dystopian conceit to spend hard-earned money gambling on fictional digital events that play out endlessly on endless loops, with no humanity or veracity involved whatsoever.

Yet in this absurd virtual realm where nothing exists except fleeting numbers on a screen, bookies continue to profit off the absolute unreality of it all – a concept that has proliferated rapidly in Ethiopia as virtual betting businesses look to capitalize on this surreal but lucrative market.

At the heart of the booming virtual betting sector lies a crucial piece of technology – the random number generator (RNG). As online gambling simulations proliferate in Ethiopia, the integrity of the RNG becomes paramount. Without unpredictable results, players could potentially decode patterns, undermining the fairness of these fictional wagering events.

Industry insiders note certified RNGs are strictly vetted to ensure outcomes are generated without bias or opportunity for influence. Through complex algorithms, RNGs on different platforms emulate the very real unpredictability of chance. Like flipping a coin, their output remains unknowable in advance. OG Betting and similar outlets sprinkled throughout the city have capitalized on this lucrative trend.

Natanim Aragu, a former bookmaker, is intimately familiar with Ethiopia’s booming online gambling market. The 28-year-old recently opened then shuttered his own betting shop after a short trial period in the industry.

According to Natanim, the low barrier to entry makes virtual gambling highly accessible as an entrepreneurial prospect.

“You need only 30,000 birr to purchase the necessary online platform systems and start accepting wagers,” he reveals.

However, Natanim’s own experience also suggests volatility, with fortunes able to change quickly in this burgeoning but competitive realm.

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