Poker could soon become legal in Israel, if a bill proposing the legalization of the game gains enough traction in the Knesset, the country’s legislature. The bill was introduced shortly after the nation’s Supreme Court ruled that poker was a game that required skill and its outcome was not entirely based on luck.
Poker has long been illegal in Israel. Prior to the Supreme Court ruling, people caught playing the game faced up to one year in prison, while those organizing poker tournaments faced sentences of up to three years in prison.
In his recent ruling, presiding Supreme Court Judge Neal Hendel has said that poker is clearly a game of skill and “the fact that players go to contests and tournaments year after year strengthens” the notion that it is namely skill and not luck the outcome of the game depends on.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, Sharren Haskel, a member of Israel’s Likud party, has introduced a bill calling for the legalization of poker on the territory of the country. Under the bill, the game will be treated as one of skill, reflecting the definition it has been given by the country’s highest ranking court.
In addition, the bill provides for the organization of poker tournaments in Israel, including international ones. As mentioned earlier, the organization of such events is prohibited under current laws.