Legalized Sports Betting Could Boost Israel's Revenues

A pre-release statement regarding a new academic study on the effects the legalization of gambling would have on Israel, notes that the legalization of just half of Israel's illegal gambling activity in sports betting through a 20 percent tax rate would bring the Israeli government up to NIS 1.2 billion in additional tax revenues.

The study was conducted by economist Avichai Snir of the Netanya Academic College and Ronen Bar-El of the Open University, and in it the researchers claim that Israeli punters spend NIS 12.5 billion annually on sports betting, with around 11 billion wagered illegally.

They also underlined that other positive benefits of the legalization would be reduced risks related to dealing with unregulated operators and the incidence of money laundering and corruption in sports.

It was reported in the study that according to the International Monetary Fund, criminal activities rake in $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion a year; one-third to half of this sum being laundered, which amounts to 2 to 5 percent of the world's gross national product and about 10 percent of world trade.

In addition to this, while global online betting reached almost $51 billion in 2012, Israel's illicit overall black market amounted to NIS 136 billion, which is estimated to be 21 percent of gross national product. Of this sum, about NIS 34 billion has been laundered.

Noting that online gambling has been legalized in seven European countries and 28 countries globally, with another 13 countries making similar moves along this path, the report states that, despite the Israeli prohibition, external operators manage to find ways to override blocking tactics and provides insight into the way in which corrupt individuals and sports organizations can exploit sports for illegal rewards or as channels for money laundering.

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