Betting online and gambling have an interesting situation in Israel, where the religious faction of society typically exerts considerable influence on public perception and government policies. While the religious community does frown on the practice of gambling in general, it does exist in some form and seems to be tolerated at least to some extent by other segments of society. Online betting is becoming popular in Israel despite government restrictions.
Legalities Of Betting Online In Israel
In years past, Israeli betting laws did not specifically rule on the legality of online gambling, although virtually all land based gambling and betting related activities were prohibited, with the exception of the state run lottery and other betting related activities sanctioned by the Israeli Commission for Sports Gambling. Numerous developments were in the making however, many of which would place the online betting industry under tighter scrutiny.
In December 2005, all online betting operations were ordered to shut down by the Attorney General. At the same time, credit card companies were also prohibited from carrying out transactions with betting websites. There have been a few bright spots here and there–such as the government’s May 2007 decision to reinstate the online backgammon site Play65’s right to carry out gambling activities in the country due to “unique circumstances”–although online gambling remained essentially outlawed – this does not stop many Israeli players from betting real money online.
That being said, the government does allow the operation of as many as 150 live casinos in the country (all of which earn the government a combined total of 6.5 billion shekels in revenues every year) although they remain under the strict control of the Israeli government. All of these establishments are categorized under the food and entertainment industry, and is strictly monitored by the Israeli Parliament.
Current Online Betting Trends In Israel
While the legality of online betting in the country remains a murky issue, numerous sectors have proposed the passing of more lenient laws towards land based gambling establishments. Proponents of these measures point to the significant benefits that such legislation would bring, such as the increased revenue it would bring into government coffers, and the increase in job opportunities that such businesses would make available. In addition, the sectors that support the all out legalization of gambling also point to its benefits with regard to keeping Israeli funds in the country. In any case, whether or not this points to a growing trend towards a more widespread social acceptance of gambling and betting related activities remains to be seen.
History Of Betting In Israel
Betting has long been a large part of the Jewish culture from time immemorial, and there are many recorded mentions of such activities throughout history. In fact, so prevalent was gambling in the years before the establishment of the Israeli nation that the religious leaders as well as the government frequently sought to curtail such practices at several junctures.
Before the establishment of the Jewish nation, much of the gambling and betting related activities in the region involved dice games or some form of lottery. While land based casinos were later introduced into the local gambling scene, these were all operated under the jurisdiction of the Israeli government.