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A vibrant, bustling country, Israel has lots going for it, but one area where it’s a lot like its neighbours is the online gambling realm. As a religious state, it’s not surprising that the Israeli government keeps tight control over the industry, in terms of what’s allowed in person and at online Israel casinos. But while things are pretty strict, there are plenty of Israeli online casinos based in other countries that accept Israeli players and their Shekels. Read our full guide for the low-down.
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History of Israeli Gambling
Israel doesn’t have as long a gambling history as some other countries. In fact, gambling dates back to the 1950s, when lotteries were allowed. By 1968, the country had put together the Israel Sports Betting Board, but up until this day, games of chance are banned in the country, with all the top regulated online Israel casinos operating offshore.
Interestingly, though, plenty of these offshore casinos are owned and operated by Israelis. 888 Casino, for example, is a famous land-based and online casino, while gambling giant, Playtech, was founded by Israelis. Just a few years ago, it was estimated that the illegal gambling market in the country was worth nearly US$4 billion per year.
Yes, some politicians argue that gambling in Israel will have an adverse effect on socially unprotected players who may be lured into spending their last Shekels by chasing jackpots. What’s more, gambling habits are also frowned upon Halachically (under Jewish law). It’s somewhat of a juxtaposition when you consider how, in the days of the Temples, gambling was encouraged during the Jewish festival of Channukah in the form of the game Dreidel (spinning top) which was played for money.
Is it legal to gamble in Israel?
It’s not really a simple yes or no answer. As we’ve mentioned, licensed online Israel casinos are regulated in overseas countries. Under the Israeli Penal Law, organisations that run games of chance, betting and lotteries are not allowed in the country.
The spotlight here is on “chance.” Under the law, prohibited games are defined as those that depend more on chance than ability or skill. So, slots or blackjack, for example, don’t have a specific legislation against them, but they are considered “prohibited” under Israeli law. It’s the same for online Israel casinos. The laws don’t clearly refer to online gambling, but it’s considered illegal.
Fortunately, there are plenty of offshore online casinos that welcome players from Israel and even those that accept NIS (New Israeli Shekels).
License and Jurisdiction
While all forms of gambling are officially illegal according to the Knesset – the country’s government –permission has been granted to two state-owned companies.
The Israel Sports Betting Board has a monopoly on all types of sports betting, while the national lottery company, Mifal Hpayis, has control over lottery, scratch cards, raffles, keno and bingo games.
With online gambling being prohibited, there is no general licensing process for operators. A great deal of effort has also gone into creating a legal framework where the Knesset can force Israeli internet service providers to ban casino operators and games. There’s been a lot of debate around the topic, and in 2017, the Knesset took the decision to authorise legislators with issuing bans for online operators. Some even ordered search engines to block casino sites.
Despite all this, players have options when it comes to offshore Israel casinos and their favourite casino games. Playing at foreign online casinos may officially be illegal, but players aren’t punished for visiting international casino sites.
While some offshore operators may be blocked, most are freely accessible to Israeli players. But there are no Israel licensed online casinos, which is why we only recommend ever playing at properly regulated offshore sites that hold the nod of approval from the likes of the Curacao Government or Malta Gaming Authority.
While you can only access overseas Israeli online casinos, the country does tax casino winnings. Under the current rules, you must pay 35% of your winnings in tax. Winnings of up to NIS 30,600 are actually tax-deductible, while winnings of up to NIS 61,200 face taxation of between 1% and 34%. Winnings over NIS 61,200 are taxed at a rate of 35%, with that amount increasing by 3% as amounts exceed NIS 651,600.
Bonuses and Promotions
If you’re going to go to the trouble of finding top-rated Israel casinos or perhaps using a VPN to play, you want to make sure you get the most for your Shekels. That’s where online casino bonuses and promotions come in, helping to stretch your budget and offer you more time to play and, hopefully, win.
Besides welcome bonuses, which tend to include match deposit bonuses and free spins, players can claim reload bonuses, Drop and Wins, cashback bonuses, special promotional free spins, jackpot drops, and even loyalty and VIP rewards.
When you play at the best Israel casinos that we recommend, you can rest assured there’s a little something rewarding for all types of players and budgets.
There are numerous ways to fund your account at online Israel casinos. Despite the country’s restrictions around online gambling, Israelis can still access offshore operators, with many accepting NIS, which is handy when you want to avoid conversion fees.
Israeli Payment Methods
|Credit Cards||Both credit and debit cards are the most commonly used payment method for funding casino accounts and withdrawing winnings. Most Israeli players have credit cards, so it’s simply a case of putting in your card details and completing the transaction. However, this isn’t always the fastest way to pay and play at online casinos.|
|Bank Transfer||Direct bank transfers provide greater security than credit or debit cards, which is important when you’re playing at offshore casinos. The biggest downside, though, is that bank transfers take a lot longer to process, with some Israeli banks refusing casino transactions.|
|E-Wallets||E-wallets are especially popular at overseas Israeli casinos. Options like Neteller, PayPal and Skrill are just some of the popular e-wallets amongst Israelis, and pretty much all of them are accepted at international online casinos. Just be aware that some e-wallet deposits do not qualify for casino deposits.|
Since there is no official gambling authority in the Holy Land, we recommend you only play at licensed online casinos based overseas. These operators go to great lengths to ensure a secure gaming environment, not just when it comes to your details and money, but also your gambling habits.
The best offshore Israel casinos provide a myriad of responsible gambling tools to help you keep your gambling in check. These tools include:
We’d like to hope that online casinos in Israel won’t be banned forever, even if future regulations and gambling conditions are still somewhat unclear. For now, though, players will have to stick to offshore Israel casinos that offer all sorts of juicy bonuses and immersive games, along with plenty of perks for loyal players.
Whether you use a VPN or simply access an overseas casino, always gamble responsibly. More and more Israeli players are turning to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Tether and Litecoin to fund their casino accounts and withdraw their winnings, providing not only additional security measures but a good degree of anonymity, too, so that the Knesset doesn’t figure out what you’re up to.
As for the latest offers and ways to stretch your bankroll, keep an eye on a casino’s Promotions page and social media accounts to make sure you never miss out on a good opportunity.
No. All forms of land-based and online gambling are illegal in Israel, with many offshore operators blocked, too.
Most regulated Israeli casinos that we recommend require you to be 18 years or older and undergo a verification check to confirm your age and identity.
Sadly, taxation is a thing. Winnings are taxed at 35%. We’d never recommend you try to get around the government but playing with a VPN and e-wallet or cryptocurrencies can help you keep your gambling habits under wraps.
Not really, no. Israeli laws prohibit residents from gambling in all shapes and forms, and many banks block gambling payments.
Israelis love to gamble, especially when it comes to poker, blackjack and roulette, but slots also provide hours of exciting entertainment and the chance to win big jackpots.
It depends on the site you choose to play at. Take a look through our in-depth reviews of the best Israeli online casinos to find the games and RTPs that suit you.
On this page, we’ve only listed the top Israel casinos that possess valid gambling licenses. To obtain these, the operators are held to high standards of accountability, especially when it comes to safety and security, as well as fair gameplay.
As a rule of thumb, table games tend to have the best odds at online casinos. That’s because different games have different rules, and players may sometimes affect the outcome of the bets. But there are no guarantees when it comes to gambling. If you’re looking for the best RTPs, consider online roulette and blackjack games.
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