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Gambling legislation in Israel remains ambiguous still

Niji Narayan

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From the outside, the gambling legislation is Israel looks simple and straight forward. Gambling is banned in the country, according to the Israeli Penal Law 5737 of 1977. But the same law does not address online gambling in any manner. It is leading to much confusion and speculation.

There have been several illegal operators offering online gambling and claiming that it is not illegal. The law regarding this lies in bit of a grey area. In 2005, there were some developments. The then Israeli Attorney General took a stern stance against online gambling when he issued orders that not only mandated the closure of online gambling operators with servers based in Israel, but also penalised credit card companies that processed transactions for such online casino and gambling site operators.

The present situation is ambiguous. Attorneys interpret the law books as severely cracking down on casino gambling with some serious consequences for offenders, while in contradiction allowing sports betting and lottery as being perfectly legal.

Land-based casinos are banned in the country. The ban has resulted in several undercover casinos and gambling tables that operate behind closed doors. Not only are these unregulated and potentially frivolous, but such platforms can be downright dangerous. The gambling ban in Israel has come under some serious criticism of late for precisely such reasons. Not only will the legalisation of casino gambling and gambling games like poker allow for safe, fair and regulated casinos, but it is also a great boost to the economy as it is heavily taxable. In fact, these are exactly the reasons why the ban was lifted in Britain.

British legislators were able to identify that a ban is not effective in stopping gambling, it is instead just forcing gambling underground and the country is also losing out on hundreds of millions (now billions) of pounds of revenue that a legal gambling market would generate every year. In the UK, with respect to sports betting, a 15 per cent tax on all gross profits made by punters has replaced an older betting duty of 6.75 per cent. In January of 2010, the revenue generated from the gambling industry in Britain was extrapolated to be nearly £6 billion which at the time was a staggering 0.5 per cent of the GDP of the United Kingdom. If the copious amounts of money generated is not incentive enough for Israeli law makers to legalise gambling and regulate it closely, then surely, one would think that the fact that the industry in the UK employs and empowers nearly 100,000 people and generates over £700 million in tax revenue would certainly put them over the fence, but remarkably, not so.

Despite the fact that Israel adopted the legal framework of Britain, including the ban on gambling, Israeli gambling laws do not seem to be as dynamic and evolving as its English counter-part. The Israeli laws revolving around gambling and the ban on casinos and games like poker are archaic in this day and age to say the least.

Will Israel follow in the footsteps of Britain, from whom they adopted the gambling ban, and lift the ban? Only time will tell, but at this point, they seem to be in no hurry to do so.

Source: Jerusalem Post / LEO GIOSUÈ

Niji Narayan has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. He reports gaming industry headlines from all around the globe.

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AGTech announces revenue report of 2018

Niji Narayan

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AGTech announces revenue report of 2018
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AGTech Holdings Limited announced its final results for the last year, revealing a profit of approximately HK$317.1 million (US$40.4 million). The results were up from a loss of HK$302.2 million in the prior year period.

Revenue of the group, however, was down 44.2 per cent year-on-year to approximately HK$168.6 million.

The main revenue contributions were from lottery hardware, lottery games, and systems, provision of distribution and ancillary services, games and entertainment business in the PRC.

The decrease in revenue was caused by an HK$86.0 million decrease in revenue from its games and entertainment division and a decrease in sales of lottery hardware of approximately HK$60.3 million.

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GVC confirms departure of Lee Feldman

Niji Narayan

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GVC confirms departure of Lee Feldman
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GVC Holdings is seeking a new Chairman, as incumbent Lee Feldman is preparing to announce his formal departure from the FTSE100 betting group. Feldman has been a GVC governance advisor since 2004 and was appointed corporate Chairman in 2008, becoming a key stakeholder in the firm’s aggressive M&A expansion strategy and corporate financing structures.

The news of the departure comes amid GVC investor backlash at Feldman and Chief Executive Kenneth Alexander having offloaded a combined 3 million of company shares at discounted price. This drawn the criticism from GVC investors, having shrunk the firm’s shareprice to 519p and further being branded as showing a “lack of confidence by leadership” on GVC’s long-term prospects.

GVC maintains that Feldman will be leaving the betting group, as part of City governance guidelines obliging FTSE Chairmanships to last no-longer than nine-years. The corporate governance had begun an accelerated process to find Feldman’s successor.

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Smarkets announces strengthened executive team

George Miller

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Smarkets announces strengthened executive team
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Smarkets, one of the world’s largest betting exchange and prediction market platforms, has this morning announced a strengthened executive team.

Robin Harrison, a former engineering team lead at the company, has re-joined the company as Chief Technology Officer after a year in the role of Head of Engineering at Asto, a fintech startup backed by global bank Santander.

Meanwhile, Tom Hardman and Céline Crawford have been promoted to Chief Operations Officer and Chief Communications Officer respectively.

Hardman, who formerly held the title of Head of Business Operations, is one of Smarkets’s longest-serving employees having joined in 2010 after graduating from Oxford University. During his time at the company, he has overseen many areas including finance, legal and customer support.

Crawford has been with Smarkets since 2015 after working in the banking and communication sectors for over a decade at companies including finnCap and Commerzbank.

Smarkets have also hired Chris Baldacchino as Chief Compliance Officer. He joins after holding the same position at Hero Gaming, having previously been COO at the Malta-based firm.

The quartet join CEO and Founder Jason Trost on the company’s executive team.

Trost said: “I’m delighted to welcome Robin and Chris to the company, as well as adding two of our most dedicated employees, Céline and Tom, to the executive team.

“Robin, having been a team lead at Smarkets previously, is well-placed to develop and advance our class-leading product further, while Chris’s industry expertise will be invaluable as we look to expand to new territories, such as the emerging US market and other European countries.

“Both Céline and Tom are integral employees who have been with the company for many years and fully deserve their promotions, having played a big part in our recent success.”

The C-suite announcement comes shortly after Smarkets revealed that it had over £150m of trading volume on its exchange during the recent Cheltenham Festival, with all-time records broken for concurrent users on both the company’s web and app platforms. Read more at smrkts.co/chelt19

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