Although the lottery and sports betting are the only forms gambling allowed by Israeli gambling laws (casino gambling is allowed on cruise ships), the industry is still going strong according to figures released recently by national lottery operator Mifal Hapayis.
According to the statement the company generated NIS 2.9 billion (USD 812 million) in revenue in just the first half of this year, which is a 14% year-on-year increase.
A quarter of that revenue came from the sales of the 6/37 lottery tickets, the company’s flagship product. The NIS 777 (USD 218 million) generated through these sales is a massive 33% growth from the same period in 2012.
Revenues from the Hish Gad scratch cards and from Chance (a type of a 4/32 lottery using cards instead of numbers, with several draws a day) came in a close second and third.
“We are pleased to conclude the first half with growth across all parameters. Revenue growth enables us to substantially increase Mifal Hapayis’s investments in the community,” said Mifal Hapayis CEO, Eli Dadon, adding that the company has already allocated NIS 467 million of those revenues to local authorities. This amount is itself an all time high in the history of the state lottery operator.
Figures for the Israeli Sports Betting Board, which is also the only legal online sportsbooks in Israel, are available just for the year 2012.
According to local gambling news reports the state-owned bookie made around NIS 1.4 billion (USD 500 million) last year, showing a slight, but steady decrease from the record breaking NIS 1.57 in 2010.
These figures combined show that the Israeli gambling industry, however limited in scope, is not endangered by illegal gambling activities. Nevertheless, experts believe that by extending legal sports betting to other operators, the industry could generate nearly twice of what it is capable of at this time.