Israeli Slot Machine Prohibition Comes into ForceJanuary 4, 2017 1:35 pm
On New Year’s Eve, Israel’s crackdown on its gambling industry reached new heights after the country’s slots and keno machines were shut down. The move follows recommendation made by a government report that suggested the country’s gambling industry could be made more efficient, whilst also reducing its negative social impact.
Over the past seven years, Israel’s gambling market had been growing at an impressive 10% per year, but concerned about the situation getting out of control, it would appear that the government has now settled on a more manageable annual growth rate target of 3%. In the meantime, the latest slots shutdown is expected to cost Mifal Hapayis, the country’s lottery operator, around $208 million a year, but as far as authorities are concerned any resulting loss of governmental earnings will subsequently be offset by reducing funding levels to its gambling regulatory bodies.
Nevertheless, discussions have been taking place between Israel’s Ministry of Finance and Mifal Hapayis in order to protect the organization’s sudden loss of earnings, and it would appear that it has now been granted a new permit to offer its National Lottery until 2021, as well as the opportunity to hold extra lotteries throughout the year.
Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon (photo) has long held a disdain for gambling, and has labelled the revenues received from the industry as “tainted”. On many occasions, he has also expressed his view that it is mostly the poorer sections of society which have been targeted by gambling companies, and that as a result they are the ones most at risk from its potential ills. Lauding his recent success in prohibiting the country’s slots and Keno machines, Kahlon commented:
“Eighteen months ago, I said there would no longer be slot machines in Israel, and I am very happy that from today, there aren’t any anymore. I am hurt by the thousands of families that have lost their property, their money, their homes and even their families.”