Israeli Court: Police Can’t Shut Down Online Gambling Sites

Online gambling falls into a somewhat gray area in Israeli law, as there is nothing that outright legalizes it but nothing that explicitly forbids it either, especially as far as foreign operators are concerned. Thus, it is not uncommon to see players hailing from Israel on well-known online poker sites like PokerStars. Nonetheless, law enforcement officials are constantly on the lookout for “illegal Israeli gambling activity” and many operators are reluctant to even allow Israeli players to make real money deposits at all.

Online poker in IsraelBack in the summer of 2010 Israeli police ordered all national Internet providers shut down access to Victor Chandler and Stan James, two of the most popular online gaming sites in the country at the time. The alleged legal basis for the police action was a clause in Israeli law that allows them to “shut down a site upon suspicion that gambling is taking place”.

An appeal was subsequently made to the Israeli Court system contesting that the police had no right to take such action, and just yesterday a ruling was handed down that indeed “nothing in the law… provides the Israeli police with the authority to order Internet suppliers to block access to gambling sites”. The judge’s verdict did, however, go on to point to other provisions in Israeli law that would allow the police to target “illegal online gambling”.

In short, most of the talk currently surrounding this particular issue centers around issues of “Internet freedom” rather than moving forward (or backward) in terms of legalizing online gaming in Israel. In other words, the powers that be in the Jewish State seemed to have “Passed Over” the issue altogether, preferring it to remain in a legal gray area, at least for now.

Cardplayer Lifestyle would like to thank our good friend Hank for tipping us off to this news story, which appeared today in one of Israel’s largest dailies, Yedioth Ahronoth (online).

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