Sharren Haskel, a member of the Israeli parliament ‘Knesset’ has introduced a new bill in the legislature that seeks to permit and regulate poker tournaments in the country, while giving recognising it as a game of skill.
Haskel, a parliamentarian belonging to the Likud party has introduced the Bill to give effect to certain observations of the Israeli Supreme Court, given in the context of a tax ruling, that described poker as a game of skill and recognised the fact that poker players have to work hard to participate in various contests and tournaments.
The proposed bill would regulate the Israeli Poker Players Association and empower it to organize national and international tournaments within the country. The Finance Ministry would have overall control over poker in Israel and would tax earnings.
Commenting on the Bill, Haskel said, “Israeli sportsmen bring respect and pride to the state in international competitions. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that poker players are sportsmen and not gamblers, they should be permitted to practice on their home turf.”
Israel is home to several eminent poker players such as Timur Magolin, Rafi Amit, Amir Lehavot and Asi Moshe as well as several prominent online poker and gaming companies such as Playtech and 888 Holdings.
The bill is now expected to go through several parliamentary procedures before it is finally put to vote. It remains to be seen whether Knesset would give its approval to the game of poker.