Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Israel

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Picture of Tel Aviv, one of Israel's largest cities. Some forms of gambling in Israel are legal.

Guide to Gambling in Israel

 

Israel, officially the State of Israel is a country in the Middle East located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. Israel shares borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, Palestine territories to the east and west, and Egypt to the southwest. The country’s financial and technology center is Tel Aviv while Jerusalem is its self-designated capital and largest city. Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem is internationally disputed.

The territory of modern-day Israel was ruled by numerous empires throughout early history like the Persians and the Ottomans for example. Israel, specifically Jerusalem was the center of the infamous crusades of the 11th and 12th century as well.  In 1516, the region came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire which remained in charge until the end of World War I. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Israel became a British mandate. After the rise of Nazism, a quarter million Jews migrated to the country due to Hitler’s plan of eradicating the Jews. Israel gained independence from the British in 1949.

Gambling in Israel is partially legal. Sports betting and the lottery is allowed to conduct both offline and online because they are state monopolies. Any other forms of gambling are illegal so there aren’t any casinos in the country offering the popular games like poker, roulette, or blackjack to name a few. Playing at an offshore online casino is considered illegal too, but players are not prosecuted.

 

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Casino gambling in Israel

 

Online casino gambling in Israel: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Casino gambling is illegal in Israel. Therefore, there aren’t any land-based or online casinos operating in the country. The only forms of gambling allowed in Israel are sports betting and the lottery. Both of these forms of gambling are a state monopoly. Online gambling is illegal besides the previously mentioned games. However, players from Israel are not prosecuted if they decide to play at an offshore online casino. Although gambling is mostly illegal, there were plans to open a casino in the country in 2015. As of now, there aren’t any official information on the matter.*

 

 

*The Guardian: Israel Reportedly Looking at Opening Country’s First Legal Casino

 

Bingo in Israel

 

Online bingo in Israel: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Bingo is quite popular amongst players all around the world, especially in the United States. In Israel, just a couple forms of gambling are allowed to conduct or to participate in. Unfortunately, bingo is not one of them. Therefore, there aren’t any land-based or online bingo halls operating in the country. However, Israeli players are not prosecuted if they decide to satisfy their needs for a good bingo game in an offshore online casino. Numerous foreign online casinos accept players from Israel.

 

 

Poker in Israel

 

Online poker in Israel: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Poker is quite possibly the most popular casino game ever created. The main reasons behind its ever growing popularity are the constant television broadcasts, regularly held world championships, and of course, the game’s competitive nature. Many would argue that poker requires more skill than luck but it still counts as a form of gambling as it is mostly played in casinos to this day. Only just a couple forms of gambling (sports betting and the lottery) are allowed in Israel and unfortunately, poker is illegal. However, players from Israel can enjoy poker at numerous offshore online casinos because they won’t be prosecuted.

 

Sports betting in Israel

 

Online sports betting in Israel: state monopoly

 

Sports betting is one of the most common and popular forms of gambling out there. Sports betting along with the lottery is the only form of gambling allowed in Israel. In Israel, sports betting is handled by the Israeli Sports Betting Council exclusively. However, if players decide to try out their luck at an offshore online bookmaker they won’t be prosecuted.

 

 

Lottery in Israel

 

Online lottery in Israel: state monopoly

 

Arguably, the lottery is the most common form of gambling in the world. It is safe to say that where gambling is legal there is a national lottery. Gambling is mostly illegal in Israel, however, there is a national lottery. Israel’s national lottery is drawn by the Mifal HaPayis. The company was established in 1951 and operates ever since. Mifal HaPayis offers a wide variety of games to players like the traditional lottery, Keno, and scratchcards amongst others. Players from Israel are not prosecuted if they play at an offshore online casino. Therefore, many foreign gambling websites accept Israeli players.

 

 

Bitcoin gambling in Israel

 

Bitcoin gambling in Israel: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Bitcoin is a digital currency often referred to as a “cryptocurrency” introduced in 2008. It quickly gained a worldwide popularity as an alternative mean of payment. Bitcoin gambling appeared shortly after the inception of the currency and continues to grow in popularity as more and more online casinos started to specialize in it. Bitcoin is still a relatively new phenomenon so only just a handful of countries issued laws concerning it. Some countries see Bitcoin as an asset rather than a currency (like Norway or Lithuania for example). As of now, there aren’t any specific laws in Israel concerning Bitcoin gambling or Bitcoin in general. However, Bitcoin trades mostly occur via the internet so Bitcoin gambling technically counts as a form of online gambling. Therefore, it is safe to assume that is is illegal in Israel. Players from Israel are not prosecuted if they decide to play at an offshore casino, though.

 

 

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2016.02.08.

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Simon's Guide to Gambling in Israel
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Simon's Guide to Gambling in Israel
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An overview of gambling's legal status in Israel
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