The Israeli Penal Law, 5737-1977 bans the organizing of betting, lotteries and games of chance along with running venues where these activities take place. However, it exempts the national lottery (Mifal HaPayis) that offers weekly subscription lottery, scratch cards and various raffles and lotteries.
The Mifal HaPayis is allowed to run a limited number of terrestrial video lottery terminals in different locations throughout the country, and its operations are regulated and supervised by the Ministry of Finance. Sports betting is also allowed to run in the country, with exclusive rights to organize and manage these activities awarded to Israel Sports Betting Board (ISBB). ISBB covers both local and foreign basketball and soccer games as well as foreign horseracing events.
So, it’s safe to say that gambling in the country is partially legal because, on the one hand, gambling is prohibited, while on the other, the state monopolies are permitted.
Sports betting in Israel
Sports betting is perhaps one of the most common forms of gambling in the world today – with enthusiasts betting on their favorite teams. Israelis who love to bet have reasons to be happy since sports betting is legal in the country. And although there are strict rules regarding gambling online, players can still participate in betting on sites like NetBet Japan or other offshore online bookmakers without fear of prosecution.
Poker in Israel
Poker is a popular casino game thanks to the consistent TV broadcasts, frequent world championship events and its competitive nature. Many consider poker as a game of skills rather than chance, though it’s still viewed as a form of gambling in Israel and across the globe. As stated earlier, the country only accepts two types of gambling and poker isn’t one of them, so it’s illegal. But again, Israelis can still participate in their favorite poker game at several offshore casinos that allow them to play without fear of prosecution.
Lottery in Israel
The lottery is yet another common type of gambling – with punters across the globe participating in one kind of lottery or the other. Israel prohibits gambling but exempts the national lottery, drawn by the Mifal HaPayis. Israelis can take part in one of the different games provided by Mifal HaPayis, or choose to play at an offshore online casino.
Bingo in Israel
The Israeli government prohibits any game that involves winning by chance as opposed to skills. Bingo is more of a chance game than a skill game, so it is not legal in the country. But if you are a Bingo lover, don’t fret, you can still search for a casino that offers this game and accepts players from Israel. This is very important, especially if you are hoping to win some money while you are at it.
You could be wondering why Israel’s laws prohibit gambling, yet citizens can still participate in these games without fear of prosecution. However, as of now, there aren’t any specific statutory provisions relating to online gambling in the country. The official opinion of different government agencies, as well as the court decisions, have clarified that the prohibitions and definitions found in the Penal Law concerning gambling apply to online gambling – but the only target is on the operators rendering their services to Israelis.