Israel Gives Green Light to Online Lottery and Keno

Published January 3, 2017 by Sol FH

The Israeli National Lottery (Mifal HaPayis) has been approved to offer online lotteries.

After a long set of discussions, the Israeli National Lottery (Mifal HaPayis) and the Ministry of Finance in Israel have come to a few agreements, which could change the face of gambling in the country. Daily Israeli business newsletter Calcalist reports that online lotteries and other games like Keno will now be offered to Israeli citizens.

The sides also agreed on eight Keno draws per day for citizens whom reside in areas that have a socio-economic rating of 6 and higher but they also agreed that the National Lottery will remove all of their luck machines from lottery ticket kiosks. 

Kahlon's Zigzag

The move is a sort of a zigzag for Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon of the Kulanu party, who seemed a hardliner against gambling in Israel; just last June, Kahlon was quoted by Calcalist saying that his ministry will not give Mifal HaPayis a permission to offer online betting. The removal of luck machines can be considered an achievement for the minister, however. 

A Positive Move?

Some say this is a positive move for the Israeli National Lottery now that there will be increased regulation and reliability and the country will also benefit greatly from the move. Israel's Lottery, as with lotteries in other countries, funds a lot of charitable programs and the sides have agreed on an amount of 108 million New Israeli Shekels (around $28m) in donations to projects. In addition, the rest of all lottery profits will be distributed 50/50 between regional councils for the development of new sports facilities and other community programs. 

The plans have been agreed upon until 2021. The online catalog will include online lottery games and other select games, but limits will be set on players' credit cards to promote responsible gambling.

Still A Long Way to Go for Online Casinos

This move will mean that online gambling may have an easier path to being legal in Israel in the future, but for now, online lotteries in Israel will be a great start. Despite recent headlines about an initiative to establish brick & mortar casinos in the tourist city of Eilat in Southern Israel, a reality in which this actually happens still seems very, very distant. 

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