Israel finance minister wants to ban slots and race betting

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Israel should ban slot machines and betting on the horses, according to the findings of a new government report.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Justice Ministry General Director Emi Palmor held a joint press conference to discuss a new report by the Commission on Gambling Regulations.

The Commission, which was made up of representatives from both ministries, was asked to identify ways to (a) increase efficiency in the legal gambling industry and (b) reduce the potential harms of gambling on the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

The report recommends banning the slots and video poker gaming machines run by national lottery monopoly Mifal HaPayis. There are currently around 500 such gaming machines located in 150 lottery shops.

The report also recommended banning the race betting organized by another monopoly, the Israel Sports Betting Board’s Toto brand. There is no dedicated year-round racetrack in Israel but several venues host occasional meetings throughout the year.

Both Kahlon and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked have vowed to do whatever it takes to ensure that the report’s recommendations are approved by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Kahlon, whose previous comments have made his dim view of gambling crystal clear, predicted that “as of next year, there will not be a single gambling machine or any horse racing in Israel.”

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