Israel, officially known as the State of Israel, is a country that exists in the Middle East, bordering Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The country is often under discussion in news articles for various reasons, but what about its policies and laws surrounding offline and online gambling? Are citizens in Israel allowed to participate in such pastimes? Well, it is a country that allows online gambling to an extent, although it also serves as a jurisdiction for casinos to obtain licences from. Alas, despite this fact, citizens from within the country aren’t generally allowed to play at casinos and gaming sites that are licensed within Israel. They’re often usually only open to foreign gamers.
Top Israeli online casinos
Gambling in Israel
Gambling online in Israel is a sort of yes and no answers, because while some forms of online gambling are legal and possible, others are not so. Sports betting options and the national lottery of the country can be wagered on via both online and offline locations, although any other forms of gambling are not legal for Israeli citizens to access from within. This being the case, you won’t find any casinos within Israel that provide poker or slot games or roulette for example, to the residents. That being said, while accessing and playing at online casinos based offshore is still considered illegal by the government, there’s not much that they’re able to do about it. Players are not specifically prosecuted for accessing offshore online casinos, so there are ways around the Israeli laws on gambling.
The gambling platforms and land-based establishments that are accessible within Israel though, are heavily monitored and regulated by the government. One other thing to mention, is that even though casino games and such are considered illegal, there is a large number of cruise ships that exist in Israel’s ports which provide such types of games. On the whole, the gambling industry is a big one in Israel, despite the fact that certain forms of gambling are illegal. The national lottery, which as stated is available online and offline, remains hugely popular with citizens, and the betting industry on the whole brings in roughly $3.5 billion on an annual basis.
The Best Israeli Casino Sites
Online casino games available in Israel
Israel citizens can access hundreds of different real money casino games at offshore online casinos. These include all of the big name online casino software companies’ slots games and table games. To find out about the specific games available at online casinos read our guides:
Israeli Shekel deposits & withdrawals
Even though Israeli players can access online casinos and gaming sites based offshore, there aren’t a great deal of them that provide the option for depositing and playing in the Israeli Shekel currency. While it’s possible to find a small group, the likelihood is that gamers from the country will need to deposit and have their currency converted in the process. US Dollars is probably the currency that will be the best to go for. Alas, even if this is the case, players from within Israel will still get the chance to make use of a few different payment methods in order to transfer funds into their accounts. They include options such as:
- Credit and Debit Cards: Visa, MasterCard, Maestro
- eWallets: Neteller, Skrill
- Prepaid Cards: Entropay
- Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin
- Bank Transfers: Bank Wire Transfer
Israel gambling history
Israel has a vast history on the whole, not just where gambling is concerned. Numerous empires have ruled over the Israeli lands over the years, including the Persians and the Ottoman Empire. The latter of these occurred in the year of 1516 and they continued to be in charge until the end of World War I. It was then a British mandate and remained as such until 1949. As spoken of earlier, the country does have its own national lottery, which has been exceptionally popular with Israeli players ever since its inception. It branched out into the online world in more recent years, and avid gamblers have been able to purchase lottery tickets both offline and online to participate in the game.
Other than this, the only other legal form of betting in Israel exists as sports wagering.
This is also a big business in the country, with many citizens actively participating in the pastime. Two government organisations regulate the sports betting and lottery sectors, with the one for the former being the Israeli Commission for Sports Gambling and the latter being the Mifal Hapayis. Because of certain groups, and primarily due to religious reasons, casino, poker room and other forms of gambling are completely illegal in Israel. Therefore, you won’t find any land-based or online casino platforms to access. Players from Israel are not prosecuted for accessing offshore platforms to satisfy their gaming needs though. So, if someone from the country did want to play slots or blackjack for example, they could do this without any sort of worry about being caught.
Israel online casino & gambling laws
When it comes to any form of online gambling within this country, it is not possible for residents to set up online operations. Therefore, you won’t find the possibility of playing any casino games or bingo for example, online. The government of Israel has taken necessary steps to ensure that local residents do not indulge in online gambling of other sorts apart from the government-regulated options. Therefore, generally speaking, they can only utilise the government-run lottery and sports betting offerings. Alas, this hasn’t stopped people from navigating to offshore platforms to fulfil their gaming needs. Some offshore sites even provide their games and casinos in Hebrew to cater to such players.
As things stand at the moment, there are around 150 online platforms that provide various games to Israeli players. And some of them allow deposits to be made in Israeli Shekels too, further catering to players from this country. Alas, the ban on online gambling in Israel has been in play since 1977 when the Israeli Penal Law came into effect. The legislation is a bit hazy, as it doesn’t specifically mention anything about online gambling, per se. Of course, in 1977, online gambling wasn’t an entity as it is today.
However, in 2005, Israel’s Attorney General issued certain orders that directed themselves completely at online gambling operators, as well as credit and debit card providers. While this was supposed to hinder access and payments being made to online casinos and gaming sites, Israeli players have managed to get around this by playing at the aforementioned offshore platforms quite easily.