Israel, or the State of Israel, is a Middle Eastern country packed with rich religious stories that date way back. The country has a population of 8.5 million people, with most of the population enjoying a high quality of life. Israel is a technology hub and is a top destination for many religious and adventurous tourists from across the globe.
That aside, Israel is one of the countries with the most fractured gambling laws. Lotteries, which are regulated by the Mifal HaPayis and sports betting, by the Commission of Sports Betting are legal and run under a state monopoly. Other than these two, the state condones any other form of gambling or betting that involves winning by chance. This includes things like bingo, casino gambling and poker.
Despite the stand of the Israeli government, it is business as usual for the citizens, with most of them participating in the online casino games as though no rules were prohibiting the same. This can be attributed to the fact that Israelis aren’t held accountable for playing at these sites. The government’s focus is on preventing these operators from rendering their services to its citizens. So, in as much as the law is not explicit when it comes to online gambling, the activity is still considered illegal to some level, just as land-based gambling. Recently, the court ruled that punitive and enforcement measures pointed towards unlawful online gambling should be tougher than those related to land-based gambling since online gambling presented a higher risk to the social interest.
Israel Police has taken action against online casinos including, among other things, confiscation of gambling equipment and raiding gambling-related venues. These actions have only been directed to online gambling sites that target Israeli market along with operators associated with local criminal organizations. The police do not take enforcement action against companies with no presence in the country and have not entirely aimed the Israeli market.
The authorities have also instructed the Israeli ISPs to prevent these online casino sites from operations in the country, but the country’s supreme court has refuted these orders due to lack of explicit legal authority. This bill would have allowed the police to issue orders directed at blocking access from Israel to sites providing online gambling services – but it hasn’t been adopted as law, yet.
But there is secondary legislation that allows the state’s authorities to order financial institutions against processing any online gambling transactions. While there are no specific laws around payment blocking, the secondary legislation gives the authorities the power to issue such orders.
State of online gambling
As stated earlier, these rules don’t appear to scare punters. If anything, many continue to play and wager on different casino sites that accept players from the country. And although there aren’t any brick and mortar betting establishments in the country – except those that are in the international waters in Eilat, Israeli punters are more or less free to participate in these games online – even though it is technically unlawful.