Israel’s iGaming sector flourishes despite legal obstacles

  (photo credit: UNSPLASH)
(photo credit: UNSPLASH)

It is no secret that Israel has been steadily fostering an environment for high-quality online casinos. Some of the best online casino brands, from operators to developers, such as Playtech, 888, PokerStars, William Hill, NeoGames, and Aspire Global, have made their home here, and for good reason.

The strict laws surrounding gambling have surely been a hurdle- with land-based casinos being completely outlawed and very few ways for locals to make bets (national lottery, sports betting, and horse race gambling), it may seem like the local iGaming industry has managed the impossible. Despite this, Israel’s highly-skilled workforce refuses to allow Israel’s cutting-edge technology to go to waste. For one- many VPNs have been developed specifically so Israeli players can access online casinos.

It has to be noted that despite the government’s conservative views on iGaming and gambling in general, their willingness to invest in the country’s technology sector has been a great help in the development of the country’s start-up culture and therefore has benefitted many new online casinos. In recent years, the Israeli government has also begun to take steps towards regulating online gambling instead of complete restriction, such as their new laws on online sports betting in 2019, which despite still being quite limited, is opening up new opportunities and indicating a change. 

The proximity of the country to Europe is also a contributor to the success of the sector. Israeli iGaming companies have established a foothold in the European market, as many companies stand out easily as innovative, and ahead of others. It seems that the obstacles these companies have faced have been a blessing in disguise by forcing new perspectives and creative problem solving, whilst others have been doing well enough on mediocrity brought on by a lack of desperate need for change.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also been an aid in the industry’s growth. Worldwide, online casinos have been the go-to place for lovers of gambling, first, when physical casinos were being closed down, and now because gamblers have realised how much easier it is, and how much more rewarding it can be. This, combined with the fact that Israeli residents were already bound by the lack of options, has ensured growth.

Many have argued that more relaxed laws on the industry may be beneficial for the government, as it could generate significant tax revenue. Not only that, but the technological advancements being made could continue at an even higher rate, without restrictive laws holding them down. Overall, even though the current local landscape is still harsh for iGaming in Israel, change is on the horizon, and the industry is certainly poised for continued growth and success, with no indication of stopping any time soon.

This article was written in cooperation with Thijn Stellinga