Will Israel ever enjoy the gambling freedom seen in the US?

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

The gambling industry has seen a considerable amount of growth in recent years. Mobile sports betting is close to its first anniversary in New York and has been a huge success. The same applies in New Jersey but some countries, including Israel still won’t allow such gambling.

Not being able to bet on the majority of sports is something that most US states have less than favorable memories of. It still seems strange that gamblers couldn’t legally bet on the New York Yankees. New Jersey battled hard to change that and in 2018, a landmark US Supreme Court Judge ruling allowed individual states to decide on whether or not to legalize gambling, especially on sport.

New Jersey was quick to do just that and that’s good news for gamblers, betting companies and the state itself. All that gambling tax revenue has helped the state coffers at a time when any financial boost is appreciated.

It took New York a while to legalize mobile sports betting. Governor Cuomo hadn’t been that keen on such a move. The effect the pandemic had on state finances finally changed his mind. His successor now sees sports betting in the state reach $1 billion a month, even when the NFL and NBA aren’t playing.

Other countries are still waiting for gambling to be legalized. In Israel, it’s possible to play the lottery (Mifal Hapayis)and win massive prizes. Betting on a sport though without breaking the law isn’t possible. Online betting is a particular target for the Israeli government. They see going online to bet as something that is just too accessible and can easily lead to players developing a gambling addiction.

There is some betting on casino games but this tends to happen on board cruise ships that are docked in harbor. 

Religious and socialist values play a major part in this situation. Even the lottery has run into trouble with the government with a desire to use video terminals being banned.

Whatever a government says, people do like to gamble, particularly online. Stopping this happening is a difficult task. How many residents in New York and New Jersey opened offshore accounts so they could place their bets?

The same happens in countries where gambling is still not legal. Israeli gamblers go down that path and it’s believed that the illegal gambling sector is worth $3.5 billion in that country. 

Overseas betting sites are also joined and that’s why they have Hebrew translations available. There has been blocking of overseas sites and placing injunctions on gambling companies in an attempt to stop this happening. Restrictions on ISPs can also be placed.

The situation changed in the US, so could Israel and other countries follow suit? There is a fear of the illegal gambling industry and the participation of the criminal classes. Gamblers aren’t protected on illegal sites and it may be better to legalize gambling and have the state run it than allow gamblers to be betting in an unprotected manner, NY.Bet experts reported.

The coming months are going to be massive for the US gambling industry. With the NFL season edging closer towards the play-offs and the Super Bowl, betting levels are going to be rising. That’s more cash for companies such as BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings but also even more tax revenue for New York and New Jersey.  Perhaps seeing the amounts that can be earned may convince other countries to go down the legalization route.

This article was written in cooperation with Evgeny Krinitsyn