Israel is a country located on the southeastern coast of the Mediterranean and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It is the home country of some of the best-known gaming providers and operators in the world, like Playtech, SBTech and 888 Holdings. So, one could easily be carried away and assume that gambling must be flourishing in the country.
However, that's far from true since most forms of gambling have been banned countrywide. Locals are very keen on gambling. Nonetheless, a strict government stance towards it has limited their appetite to just two state-run options. The online betting market is not regulated or addressed by a specific law framework. Furthermore, there are no licensed betting sites in Israel. Players are finding ways to access the few international bookies that offer their services in the country, like Betsson and Pinnacle.
Best Betting Sites in Israel
Among the few offshore bookmakers that accept Israeli punters, we’ve picked the ones that truly stand out. They offer a wide variety of markets, great odds on basketball and 95%+ payout on top football leagues.
Betting in Israel - 5 Things to Know
- 1 The legal minimum gambling age in Israel is 18
- 2 Only the state lottery and betting on the state-run bookie are allowed
- 3 Horse racing betting was banned in 2018
- 4 There is no specific law on online betting
- 5 There are no brick-and-mortar casinos
⏩Active players: 1.800.000
⏩Currency: New Shekel (ILS)
⏩Regulated gambling products: Lottery, sports betting
⏩Operator types: Unlicensed online bookies & casinos, online lottery, licensed land-based betting shops
⏩Designated authority: Israel Sports Betting Board (ISBB)
⏩Status: Regulated - State monopoly
Sports Betting in Israel: The Legal Framework
The 1977 Penal Law is the only piece of legislation around gambling. Within it, one may find the definition of prohibited games, defined as the ones "where a person can win money, value, or benefit. The results of the game should depend more on chance than skill or ability".
As you may guess, in the absence of any other specific law covering it, gambling is almost totally prohibited. The only accepted forms of gambling are state-owned: One land-based lottery and one bookmaker, Winner Israel.
There is no designated gambling regulator, just the ISBB (Israel Sports Betting Board), which oversees gambling and operates under the Ministry of Finance. No other operator has acquired a license, and no appropriate procedure exists if someone is interested in applying for one. On top of that, the state has, from time to time, blocked access to gambling sites.
Plus, it has ordered banks to stop authorizing transactions towards them. Measures have not been targeting players since the state is mainly taking action against operators. There have been no reports of fining or prosecuting local bettors. Therefore, they have been steadily working their way around to accessing offshore bookies.
Essential Information for Bettors
When you place a bet, Israel is one of the countries where you should expect a tax on your winnings (only when betting with the state bookie). No fee applies to winnings up to 30.500 ILS (€7.000-8.000), from 30.500-61.000 ILS winnings are subject to taxation at the source, whereas a 35% tax applies to winnings above 61.000 ILS (€15.500).
When you opt for international bookmakers, expect that banks may, in their discretion, block gambling-related transactions. However, there are no reports of measures or fines straight against players in Israel. If you’re looking for a casino, you may only find some operating within designated cruise ships, since brick and mortar ones don’t exist.
Sports Betting in Israel
Although geographically Israel is not located in Europe, its clubs and national teams take part in European competitions like the Champions League, the Europa League and European qualifications.
Basketball is as popular as football, with Maccabi Tel Aviv being a strong brand name, while the Euroleague bookmakers are also thriving in the country. These two sports are the top among local punters, with Betsson il and Unibet Israel offering a great variety of betting markets and high odds on both of them, definitely higher than those of Winner.il.
Tennis is the third most popular sport, with retired legend Shahar Pe’er bringing much attention to the sport, winning five Singles and three Doubles titles on the WTA Tour back in her days.
Israel Bet: How to Deposit at Online Bookies
The use of payment methods, other than the traditional ones, is widespread in Israel since banks usually try to block gambling-related activities. Try to avoid credit/debit card payments and also keep in mind that Skrill, Neteller, Paysafe and ecoPayz do not offer their services in the country.
Some actually do, but they make it clear that it may not be used for gambling transactions. One of the very few options available is the use of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum bookmakers like Melbet, FortuneJack, Svenbet and Rolletto accept Israeli punters.
Betting Regulations in Other Areas
Studying the regulatory frameworks in neighbouring areas provides a more comprehensive understanding of online gambling protocols. Let's some of the differences:
⏩ Lebanon: There are two legal options: the Casino du Liban, which reopened in 1996 after being closed during the civil war, and state-run lottery games offered by La Libanaise Des Jeux, Play Lebanon, and Lebanon Lotto. Other forms of gambling are prohibited, and there is no specific law or regulatory authority for gambling in the country. There are currently no betting sites in Lebanon that have acquired a local license.
⏩ Jordan: Apart from the charity lottery, all other forms of gambling are banned, and there is no way for operators to get a license. Nonetheless, players can still access independent Jordanian betting sites and wager with low supervision.
The Future of Online Betting in Israel
Israel’s illegal online gambling environment is worth around 3.5 billion USD, according to reports. Local bettors don’t enjoy a welcoming environment, having access to only a few international betting sites and having to use a VPN in order to reach them. A strong monopolistic market has always been apparent, while licensing isn’t even an option yet.
As a result, many top-notch offshore bookmakers stay out of the local market. We can say that the future is uncertain the way things are. If one takes a historical look at Israel’s stance against gambling, it is understood that no big changes should be expected, despite some politicians’ liberal proposals from time to time.
When it comes to online betting, Israel has only one legal bookie, namely Winner.il. Betting on international bookmakers isn’t technically illegal, since they operate outside of Israel and hold reputable gambling licenses. The use of a VPN though, could help you avoid possible ISP restrictions.
The state-owned operator has been infamous for offering low odds, mainly because of the absence of actual competition. The most reputable bookmakers that accept players from Israel are Betsson, Pinnacle and Unibet.
The online betting environment is untouched by local laws, yet authorities from time to time have blocked or restricted access to some bookmakers. However, in most cases, players don’t have to deal with restrictions or fines targeting them.
Given the fact that you want to have more options than those offered by the state-owned company when betting online, opt for reputable international bookies, like Pinnacle. Safety comes first at these top-notch bookies, leaving you with no worries whatsoever.
Israelis are avid basketball punters, either betting on the Ligat Ha’Al (Super League), the Euroleague, or the NBA. Pinnacle is famous for delivering up to 98% payout on US sports, including the NBA.