Israeli gambling law (Israeli Penal Law 5737 - 1977) bans all forms of gambling, with three exceptions: a national lottery, horse racing, and sports betting on soccer and basketball. The Israeli ban on gambling includes online gambling, though it is not specifically mentioned in the legislation.
The national lottery, Mifal HaPayis, operates an online lottery in Israel that was started in 2006. The site was developed by Intralot SA and contains five lotto games. The site can be viewed in Hebrew, Russian, Arabic and English.
The Israel Sports Betting Board also offers daily sports betting on mainly soccer and basketball matches through its betting website, Winner.
Israeli courts have been clear and consistent in ruling all forms of online gaming except for the items noted above as illegal. Israeli authorities have maintained an aggressive stance toward shutting down illegal gaming operations.
Several illegal online sites have been shut down by the authorities, but the courts blocked their efforts to keep "offshore" gaming sites from being blocked in Israel.
In 2010, Israeli police ordered all Internet providers to shut down access to all foreign gambling websites. The shutdown was based on a clause in Israeli law that allows the police to "shut down a site upon suspicion that gambling is taking place." The police also issued letters to credit card companies informing them their interactions with online gambling companies and the provision of clearing services for the collection of payments by credit cards were criminal offenses.
In 2012, the Israeli court ruled that police cannot instruct internet service providers (ISPs) to block such domains, saying it restricted freedom of access to information.
Despite its strict rules against online gambling, Israel is and has been home to some of the largest and most successful iGaming software providers over the past decade, including Playtech, Empire Online and 888.
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