12/10/2012 : ISRAEL COULD MAKE BIG MONEY BY LEGALISING SPORTS BETTING
Latest academic research suggests up to NIS 1.2 billion in taxes could be raised
By legalising just half of Israel's illegal gambling activity in sports betting through a 20 percent tax rate, the Israeli government could raise up to NIS 1.2 billion in additional tax revenues, according to a pre-release statement describing a new academic study on the subject.
The study, conducted by economist Avichai Snir of the Netanya Academic College and Ronen Bar-El of the Open University, claims that NIS 12.5 billion is splurged annually by Israelis on sports betting, with around 11 billion wagered illegally.
The researchers will be presenting their results at the upcoming Sderot Conference on Social Issues in Israel next week.
The duo point out that aside from tax revenues, other positive benefits could flow from legalization, such as reducing the risks attached to dealing with unregulated operators and the incidence of money laundering and corruption in sports.
The report notes that the International Monetary Fund estimates that criminal activities rake in $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion a year, with one-third to half of this sum laundered, accounting for 2 to 5 percent of the world's gross national product and about 10 percent of world trade.
Israel's illicit overall black market is estimated at as high as 21 percent of gross national product, about NIS 136 billion, with about NIS 34 billion laundered.
The study assesses online betting globally at almost $51 billion in 2012.
The researchers say that Internet gambling has been legalised in seven European countries and 28 countries globally, with another 13 countries making similar moves along this path. Although Internet gambling in Israel has been prohibited, external operators will often find ways of circumventing blocking tactics.
The report details the manner in which corrupt individuals and sports organisations can exploit sports for illegal rewards or as channels for money laundering.