Israeli Gambling Information
Gambling is legal in Israel, though only in certain forms. Brick-and-mortar casino gambling is not legal, though casino cruises flourish in a couple of the port cities. Sports betting, lottery and even horsetrack betting are allowed. The sports betting and lottery games are quite popular.
Casinos in Israel
Israel does not allow land-based casinos at present. A ranking member of the Knesset Interior Committee announced in January of 2008 that legal brick-and-mortar casinos in Israel are unlikely in the near future.
Casino gambling interests have been trying to gain acceptance for a casino in Eilat, citing the $3.6 billion per year Israelis spend on illegal gambling. Knesset Committee Chairman Ophir Paz-Pines claimed there would never be casino gambling in Israel.
On the other hand, the Israeli Tourism Minister Aharonovitch said in Novemeber 2007 that he wanted the casino in Eilat, as a way to jump start tourism in Israel and help Eilat compete for tourists with Sharm el-Sheikh and Taba, two nearby (foreign) ports which have casinos. This is the latest chapter in a 20 year debate over Israeli gambling, including the 1995 Gavish Committee report which called for legalized casino gambling in the Jewish state.
Israeli officials do allow cruise ship gambling, which serves tourists every day of the year.
Casino Cruises in Eilat
Eilat is the major casino gambling city in Israel. Like Mano Cruises out of Haifa, Israel allows gambling on cruises departing from the port of Eilat. Eilat is a resort city in the far south of Israel in the region known as the Negev, which is a desert area far away from the main population centers.
Eilat itself has just over 50,000 citizens, though the number of people in town will always be greater because of the tourists. Eilat rests on the edge of the Red Sea, which itself empties into the Indian Ocean.
There are four casinos currently in Eilat. Here are the details for each of those four casinos.
Casino Flamingo (Eilat) - This cruise leaves for four hours at a time, allowing for an afternoon or evening of fun at the card tables. Casino Flamingo was once known as Casino Mirage. Before that, it was the private ship of the late Romanian strongman, Nicolae Ceausecu. Call +972 863 413 56 to contact Casino Flamingo.
Casino Lady D. (Eilat) - The Casino Lady departs for 4 hour casino cruises every night. Game space is approximately 130 feet.
Casino Palace (Eilat) - Casino Palace is slighlty larger than Casino Lady D, offering 52 slot machines and 8 game tables, including games of blackjack and roulette. Once again, Casino Palace leaves for nightly four hour casino cruises.
Casino Victoria (Eilat) - Casino Victoria offers cruises at noon, at 9 P.M. and at 3 a.m. for those night owls. Table games are featured on the Casino Victoria, which offers 20 table games and only 11 slot machines. Games offered are blackjack, caribbean stud poker and roulette. Calls +972 634 135 6 to contact Casino Victoria.
Cruise Ship Gambling
Israel also offers casino gambling on one cruise ship, which departs from the port of Haifa.
Mano Cruises - Royal Iris (Haifa) - The Royal Iris from Mano Cruises offers cruises in the Mediterranean and European waters for up to 720 people at a time. The Royal Iris has health club, two swimming pools, a small casino floor and several restaurants serving continental cuisine. The phone number to book a cruise at Mano Cruises is +972 486 066 66, while the website is www.mano.co.il. Haifa is a major port in the north of Israel.
Pari-Mutuel Gambling in Israel
The North Gilboa Race Track in Gilboa is the only place in Israel for horse track betting. Gilboa is found in the north-central part of Israel, not too far from Haifa.
Lottery in Israel
The official lottery provider in Israel is the Mifal Hapais. Mifal Hapais offers a daily game, a lotto style game and what is called Rav-pai games, which actually return more money than the other two. The Israeli lottery was founded in 1951. Contact Mifal Pais at www.pais.co.il or call at 972-3-6940014.
Mifal Hapais also uses GTECH as an online vendor for their lottery games.
Sports Betting in Israel
Sports betting is regulated by the Israel Sports Betting Board. The ISBB was established in 1967 and the proceeds raised go towards funding Israeli sports activities. The major daily bets are on soccer matches and basketball games.
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