Israeli Court Takes Aim at Gambling Domains

Israeli Court Takes Aim at Gambling Domains

Israel has been looking for ways to increase its tourism, including its gambling junkets. The country already has gambling cruises from one of its southern ports, Eilat. One area where the country has been cracking down on gambling is through online gambling. The passage of a law last year gives the country a way to block online gambling sites in Israel. Companies that have been making a profit off illegal gambling are dismayed at the change in their revenues.

Israel’s Stance on Gambling

Israel passed a law last year called the Powers to Prevent Offenses. An internet site gives Israeli authorities the power to restrict websites they suspect of being involved in “serious crimes.” Many legal scholars have criticized the law because it is vague. They believe it is a blanket law that covers many different issues on the internet with one bill. The “serious crimes” covered in the new law include child pornography, terrorism, drug use, prostitution, and unregulated gambling.

The Israeli government, unlike the government of Egypt, does not appear to be in favor of gambling within the country. There are no casinos in the country. The only exception to the casinos is casino cruises, which are only allowed from the southern port city of Eliat.

Focus on Internet Gambling Websites

Israeli blocks gambling sitesThe Israeli government’s focus seems to be on the economic crimes associated with the organization and management of gambling. They believe economic crime leads to a rise in the overall crime rate. The government has stated in press releases that they want offshore gambling sites to be closed. The government has focused their attention on several websites. Among them are 888 Holdings and Playtech, which are casino websites. They are also focused on Ladbrokes Coral and William Hill, which are sportsbooks. All of these companies have marketing, development, and technical support subsidiaries in Israel. They are paying salaries and getting revenue within their borders. Three online gaming companies have been permanently blocked from being accessed in Israel: p2vbet.com, 1xbet.com, and totobet777.com.

Continuing to Crackdown

Israel has continued to crackdown on gambling institutions, especially where government officials are concerned. In 2017, Israeli police were told to avoid all casinos (even legal casinos) while traveling abroad. Israel-headquartered companies are prohibited by law from operating an online gambling platform at all. Interestingly, lottery gaming and sportsbooks are legal in the country. However, Israel has decided it doesn’t want its own people to operate those platforms online.

Israeli law enforcement and legal experts have stated that blocking websites permanently is easier said than done. Many internet gambling companies located outside Israel that have been blocked can re-emerge. All they have to do is change one number or letter on their web address to continue doing business. Also, the government’s blocks on gambling websites are easily bypassed. There are dozens of YouTube videos that discuss how to get around the blocks to access forbidden sites.

Blocking the websites is not as effective as the Israeli government hoped it would be. Critics of the law have said that mobile apps are not affected by the blocks. Mobile apps operate on an entirely different platform than gaming websites. At this point, an Israeli citizen who wants to gamble can just download an app. They can also avoid the blocks put in place by the government and happily gamble away or place a sports bet.

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