An Israeli Supreme Court judge ruled poker is a skill-based game. However, lawmakers must first pass a law to make the game legal in the country. This is the state of gambling in Israel.
MK Sharren Haskel introduced a bill to allow poker tournaments in Israel, but only time can tell when it becomes a law. At present, games of chance where there’s prize money is illegal according to Chapter 12 of the Israeli Penal Law.
Although games of chance are not allowed, Israel owns a sports betting agency and operates a lottery. Both games involve more chance than poker, which requires players to use their brain to win. Although luck does play a part in poker, players with skill usually get more winnings.
State of Gambling in Israel and Poker
With the Supreme court ruling poker as a skills-game, it is only logical to allow people to play it in the country. While many Israelis don’t want to gamble, the government do allow sports betting and lottery.
Although gambling is illegal, Israelis don’t need to worry about placing their bets on the best pay per head bookie. There’s no need to worry about authorities going after them because the government allows sports betting. Aside from the government operated online bookie, gamblers can also access any other sportsbook.
That’s is not the same with poker. For Israelis to play the game, they need to go out of the border. One way to do so is to go to Eilat and board a cruise ship. Once the ship is in international waters, Israelis can enjoy playing the card game. There was a plan to build a casino but nothing came out of it.
There’s a negative stigma against gambling in Israel. However, home games and underground poker clubs do exist within the country, according to industry news. Players can also try going online to satisfy their cravings for poker.