Is Israel Making Any Progress Towards Legalizing Online Gambling?

Is Israel Making Any Progress Towards Legalizing Online Gambling? March 20, 2019 March 20, 2019 Carolyn Dutton
 Legislation March 20, 2019 by Carolyn Dutton

Online gambling liberalization remains a distant dream in the Holy Land. Israel is known for embracing innovation and adopting the most advanced technology in almost every sector. However, while some progressive nations are starting to regulate iGaming, the Israeli government and the courts continue to take a strong stance against iGaming.

Recent news suggests that Israeli legislators are working hard to block any attempt to liberalize online gambling for its citizens.

Back in 2005, credit card firms facilitating online gambling were slapped with penalties and in 2018, the government launched a crackdown on online poker sites, with the courts imposing injunctions against a group of poker operators accused of targeting local customers.

A new Internet Site Law was also passed, allowing the country to terminate all types of online operations, including online gambling sites. While the current state of affairs in Israel shows not very positive signs, there’s an emerging optimism which suggests that new opportunities could flood into the country’s casino and online gambling sector.

Guatemala Gambling Market Gains Interest

The Central American country of Guatemala is set to embark on a trade deal with Israel. At the same time, Guatemala is working on legislation to liberalize its gambling sector.

What is interesting in this deal is that a consortium of investors coming from Israel has reportedly shown interest in pouring in money into Guatemala’s emerging gambling sector. The investment could go as high as $2 billion, with the involvement of key business magnates such as Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson. This latest development is proof that Israeli investors are now looking to expand their operations into budding gambling markets all over the world.

Factors Pointing Towards Liberalization

Local online gambling firms such as Playtech have had to battle stiff competition from Asian operators in recent times. One effective way to throw a lifeline to these domestic companies is for Israel to relax restrictions. This along with the push from online gamblers to legalize iGaming in Israel should provide new momentum for legislators to once again reconsider the ban on iGaming.

Europe could also provide a blueprint to Israel. Many iGaming operators offer services in EU nations through a gaming license obtained in Malta. Now EU countries are looking to pass new regulations to prevent this from taking place as they want to have control over iGaming operations in their jurisdictions, so they are looking to legalize iGaming and regulate the industry and benefit from gaming taxes. This scenario could possibly extend to Israel in the near future, so online gamblers should remain positive and things could be happening behind the scenes.  

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world