As per the Israeli Penal Law 5737 of 1977, gambling is illegal in Israel. If a game is based mostly or entirely on chance, then it cannot be played for money. The laws in Israel are considered a little ambiguous as the original legislation did not consider online gambling (owing to the fact it did not exist), however, gambling is restricted in Israel and market statistics reflect either legal forms of gambling (which includes sports betting and the lottery), or illegal gambling in unregulated casinos.
Romania is quite different. Gambling is generally permitted in the country and has been since the 1990s when democratic government was restored. The country opened its first new casino in 1991, and since joining the European Union is has mostly aligned itself with other European nations on issues relating to gambling. This means modernizing its regulations to include online gambling. Online casinos were made officially legal in 2010 following the introduction of new legislation, though it was technically not previously illegal according to Bogdan Cazino guide for Romanian players.
Despite the fact that these two countries have very different legal outlooks on gambling and betting, both have sizeable gambling markets. The popularity of this industry is growing in both, as detailed in this article.
Gambling is Increasingly Popular in Israel
The taboo surrounding gambling appears to be diminishing in Israel. In recent years the general attitude towards gambling has changed, so much so that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even proposed the building of a casino in Israel in 2015. The plans ultimately fell through, but in 2019 the game of Poker was deemed by the Supreme Court to be a game of skill and could, therefore, become legal.
In 2017, Israeli company Plarium, which developed the game Vikings: War of Clans, was bought by Australian gambling firm Aristocrat. The $500 million deal put Israel on the mob in the mobile gaming and gambling scene. Not only that, but notable online casino 888, despite being operated from Gibraltar, actually has its roots in Israel.
Some also report that the illegal betting and gambling industry in Israel is worth as much as $3.5 billion per year – a figure that lawmakers in Israel simply cannot overlook. Israelis are becoming more and more interested in gambling, and the traditional taboo surrounding this industry is disappearing so much so that online casinos have even begun offering games in Hebrew and are adding support for payments in Israeli Shekels.
Perhaps part of this change is the result of Israel being a big player in the tech space and helping support foreign online casinos. According to Itai Frieberger of 888 Casino, the gambling industry is “one of the great growth drivers for Israeli high-tech.”
With this in mind, many people expect that the laws might change in the future. The very real prospect of Poker being legalized in Israel could signal a change in the market.
Romania’s Gambling Market Survives New Turnover Tax
The Romanian market for gambling is indicative of the fact that the Romanian people support the industry. In 2016, it was reported that the industry generated EUR 1 billion per year. The President of Romania’s National Gambling Office also said that gambling operators within Romania paid taxes worth EUR 269 million, an increase of 71% over 2014’s EUR 157 million. In 2015, there were 488 gambling operators in the country, and the industry has remained powerful – despite being hit by new taxes in 2019.
Rather than affecting the number of people who choose to gamble either in land-based casinos or online, the new 2% gambling tax being imposed on the country will apply retrospectively for 2018 to gambling operators in the country. It means that some casinos, including 888, may leave the country entirely.
Despite these taxes being imposed, Romanians still have a tendency for gambling. In fact, the industry is so big that there are now more than 30,000 different places to gamble throughout the country. This is believed to include more than 15,000 gambling halls, 13,400 betting agencies, and more than 1,900 lotto agencies. Nationally, the gambling industry is estimated to generate more than EUR 1 billion every year, and there are more than 20 large, fully-equipped casinos available throughout the country that offer all the classic games you’d expect, from slots to poker.
The largest casino in Romania is Planet Princess Slot Casino, which features more than 300 slot machines and a range of gaming tables.
Market statistics show no sign of this industry disappearing any time soon. Unlike Israel, Romania’s government has taken steps to ensure that the market is regulated and that the people can profit from the boost the industry delivers to the economy. Time will tell whether Israel will follow suit, but these case studies show that whether gambling is legal or not, the people will generally find themselves wanting to play these games in some form or another.