Israel Bookmakers

Israel is in western Asia with neighboring countries of Jordan, Syria, the Gulf of Aqaba, Egypt, the Mediterranean Sea, and Lebanon. This is the meeting point of Asia, Africa, and Europe. This article offers insight into the legal provisions governing gambling in Israel and more especially Israel bookmakers and sports betting. We will look at the history of online betting, the legal bodies that govern this industry, the licenses, the taxes, the types of bets that are allowed and the ones that are prohibited and many more.

Israel Bookmakers

Table of Contents

1967: ISBB under the Law for the Regulation of Sports Betting.

1977: Gambling prohibition in Israel: Israeli Penal Law 5737-1977 passed, outlaws most kinds of gambling.

2013: Horse race betting was introduced in the country and later banned five years later.

2017: New concession of Mifal Hapayis, VLTs taken off.

2019: Gambling taxation reform, lowering of exemption limits.

The Gambling Laws of Israel Bookmakers

It is necessary to turn to the history of the development of these regulations to understand the current situation with gambling in Israel. According to the Israeli Penal Law 5737-1977, the legal framework of the country with regard to gambling was established. First of all, this law banned all types of gambling; lotteries, games of chance, and betting. But as time went on, particularities were made to allow some legal types of gambling to be conducted under regulation.

The following are the major events in the history of legislation on gambling in Israel:

  • 1977: The initial act to be passed was the Israeli Penal Law 5737-1977 which marked the beginning of the formulation of gambling laws.
  • 1964: The AFC Asian Cup is being hosted in Israel which is a big deal in Israeli sports.
  • 2013: Sports betting is added, then removed in 2018 by the Ministry of Finance as an unlawful activity.
  • 2017: Extension of Mifal Hapayis’ concession, cancellation of the VLTs permit.
  • 2022: Issuing of the latest National Lottery Permit which is valid up to 31st December 2026.

Betting Control Bodies for Israel Bookmakers

Israel’s gambling activities are regulated by two primary bodies:

  • The Israel Sports Betting Board (ISBB): It is mainly tasked with the regulation of land-based betting services.
  • The Ministry of Finance: Supervises the Israeli National Lottery (Mifal Hapayis) that is involved in several lottery operations.

Licensing and Fees for Bookmakers

Currently, the licensing of foreign insurance companies in Israel is very limited. Only two entities are permitted to receive gambling licenses:

  • The National Lottery (Mifal Hapayis): Has a renewable license from the Ministry of Finance. The current license is valid starting from May 1, 2022 to December 31, 2026.
  • The Israel Sports Betting Board (ISBB): It works according to the law and remains established until it is abolished by the law.

These are non-transferable permits and the Ministry of Finance has the power to suspend or even cancel these permits.

Taxes on Bookmakers Gambling

The Israeli law has strict provisions as regards the taxation of gambling winnings. In 2019, a change in gambling taxation did affect the tax exemption limits in a big way. The current thresholds as of January 2023 are:

  • Full tax exemption: For prizes up to NIS 32,760.
  • Partial tax exemption: For such prizes that range from NIS 32,760 to NIS 65,520.
  • No tax exemption: For prizes over NIS 65,520; these are subjected to tax at the rate of 35%.

Prohibited and Allowed Bets for Bookmakers

The Israeli Penal Law delineates clear boundaries around what constitutes legal and illegal gambling activities:

  • Prohibited Games: This comprises of games such as casino games, Bingo, and poker games which are considered under games of chance.
  • Lotteries: It means any type of configuration in which the result is more likely to be achieved by accident and not by design.
  • Betting: Any game in which the win is based on guess work such as sporting events.

However, there are three main exceptions:

  • National Lottery (Mifal Hapayis): Authorized to organize many types of lotteries and betting operations.
  • Sports Betting by ISBB: Licensed to provide sports betting services, other than horse racing which has been prohibited since 2018.
  • Social Gambling: With certain limited conditions, which state that such things should not be carried out in a public domain, that it should not go beyond entertainment, and definitely not in restricted areas.

Bookmakers and Sports Betting in Israel

Sports betting occupies a special place in the system of gambling activities in Israel. Soccer used to be the only sport that the Israel Sports Betting Board (ISBB) offered, but it has since branched out. Even though the horse racing has been prohibited since 2018, ISBB remains the only legal operator to oversee sports betting, including online ones.

Key Points on Israel Sports Betting:

  • Limited Scope: The operation of sports betting services is legal only in the hands of the ISBB.
  • Expansion Over Time: Soccer only, now it has extended to various other sports.
  • Regulatory Authority: The Ministry of Finance supervises it and can freeze certain forms of betting if necessary.

Conclusion

To explore the legal environment for gambling in Israel, one has to understand history, regulation, licensing, and taxation. There are few legal gambling sites in Israel and the ones permitted by the law are very limited; therefore, they include the National Lottery and ISBB. Anyone concerned with Israel bookmakers or Israel sports betting should be aware of these laws and their effects. As changes are expected in legal provisions, this will assist in compliance and in getting the most out of the allowed forms of gambling.

FAQ for Israel Bookmakers

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