After lengthy discussions, Israel’s Ministry of Finance has finally agreed to allow online lotteries and other games like Keno to Israeli residents.
Israeli-language daily Calcalist reported that finance ministers and the national lottery monopoly Mifal Hapayis have “come to a few agreements” last Jan. 2, after the Treasury extended the negotiations by two days.
The new permit will allow the activities of the National Lottery upon until the end of 2021, according to the news outlet. The two parties also agreed on eight Keno draws per day for residents living in areas that a socio-economic rating of 6 and higher. Mifal Hapayis, meanwhile, agreed to remove all of their “luck” machines from lottery ticket kiosks.
The approval, however, comes at a great cost for the lottery monopoly, which had to shut down its 500 slot machines and 150 Keno machines on New Year’s Eve. Shuttering the gambling machines was the finance ministry’s condition before it allowed the extension of Mifal Hapayis’s license “for another 48 hours in order to wind up talks.”
Closing the slot machines and Keno machines in the country appeared to a victorious moment for Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon, who has been very vocal about his crusade to shut down all gambling machines and horse racing activities in the country.
Mifal Hapayis, on the other hand, is expected to benefit from the new approval, especially now that there will be increased regulation and reliability in the country.
The national lottery initially wanted to add 14 more lotteries—to be held annually—to the two weekly draws it currently holds. It also asked the treasury to compensate the NIS800 million (USD208 million) it says it will lose annually without the gambling machines. Ministry officials, however, said the real figure should be below NIS250 million because the government is offering Mifal Hapayis the chance to conduct extra lotteries.