Israel Yet to Lift Gambling Ban, Fails To Follow UK’s Example

Publish: 09.08.2018

Israel’s gambling industry is still going through problems and the reason behind this is the existence of a gray area in the country. Israeli law still does not allow gambling. According to the Israeli Penal Law 5737 of 1977, gambling is still banned in the country. Though the decade’s old law does not address online gambling explicitly, it is creating hurdles of online gambling platforms.

A 2005 interpretation of the law by Israeli Attorney General made matters worse as the office took a strict view of the online gambling industry. Since then, credit card companies in the country have also been penalized for processing transactions for online casinos and other gambling sites. Old laws are yet to make space for new regulations in the country. The situation appears quite messy as there are severe punishments for people engaged in online gambling while lottery and sports betting are legal.

Brick and mortar casinos in the country are as good as absent. Undercover casinos, however, still operate right beneath the authorities’ noses. These unregulated spaces can be dangerous as they could grow frivolous over time. The Israeli gambling ban is being criticized for turning a blind eye to these casinos and now crypto . If the ban is lifted, several regulated casinos will spring up, providing safe gambling opportunities for the people. Allowing fair and regulated practices in the sector could also result in a boost in the sector, helping the government to enjoy high tax revenue as well. Israel enjoyed a boom in online gaming and trading over the last decade, which has been under governmental pressure due to a series of forex and binary options frauds

The UK understood that tax revenue from gambling activities could be very high, because of which they lifted the ban. Instead of forcing gambling to continue unregulated underground, they made it legal and safe, earning millions of pounds in taxes in the process. As time passed by, regulated and legalized gambling helped in boosting the economy too. A betting duty of 6.75% has now been replaced with a 15% tax on all gross profits made by punters. In 2010, this made the industry gobble up over 6 billion pounds, 0.5% of the UK’s GDP. Not only this, the industry employs 100,000 people, providing over 700 million in tax revenue.

It is important to note that the Israeli law has been designed on the British legal framework. However, they have failed to evolve as quickly and understand the needs of the market. It is high time that Israeli lawmakers pay heed to the changing laws in the UK and the copious amounts of revenue generated by them and use it to their own advantage.

The law, as of now, remains dubious and confusing. For instance, online casinos are banned in the country and players cannot avail the services of those casinos that are located inside the country. However, there is no regulatory clarity about casinos whose servers are located offshore. Per the laws, these casinos are not based in Israel, which makes them free from draconian gambling laws of the country which are often out of date for the online gambling and crypto industries.

It is still unclear whether the Israeli government will take a step to lift the ban. However, following in the UK’s footsteps will be a great idea.