Reports from the Israeli news publication Haaretz indicate that a District Court in Tel Aviv has upheld a lower court finding that companies operating online gambling websites targeting Israelis are breaking the law, even if operated and registered abroad.
The issue before the court involved an appeal by British businessman Michael Carlton, who is Chief Executive Officer of the Victor Chandler casino website registered and licensed in Gibraltar. Carlton was questioned earlier this year whilst in Israel by the Bat Yam fraud squad on suspicion of illegally running gambling operations in Israel, along with investigations regarding sports betting involving events in which Israeli teams participated.
Carlton was ordered to undergo house arrest despite no charges filed, but was subsequently required to deposit over $70 000 in guarantees as a condition to leave the country, a stipulation that he appealed. The lower court ruled that the Victor Chandler site was violating Article 225 of the Criminal Code, leaving the District Court faced with an appeal and the decision as to whether online gambling by Israelis from Israel via an international site is a crime when the gambling provider is outside Israeli jurisdiction.
The superior court upheld the ruling of the lower court, declaring that, "…any company operating a gambling website that targets Israelis is breaking the law, no matter if the site is run from abroad and if the company is registered outside Israel."
Victor Chandler is one of the most popular Internet gambling facilities in Israel with payouts to Israelis of over $16 million in winnings each year.