In Israel, police have reported the arrest of 28 individuals accused of involvement in an illegal Internet gambling operation – including one of their own. A suspended officer, an unnamed superintendent from the computer division on leave since January, was among those detained and immediately received a two-day extension on the suspension.
The operation was quite extensive, with a network of kiosks helping distribute disposable cash cards to hundreds of Israeli citizens. Valued between NIS 100 and NIS 5,000, the card could be scratched to reveal a pin code which would deposit the amount into the buyer’s account at a given online casino.
Though law enforcement officials did say that 40 locations nationwide were investigated in the search and that hundreds of customers were involved, no estimate was given on the amount of money spent on the cards. Police’s attention was most likely drawn by the recent spike in business the operation enjoyed when the World Cup kicked off.
Police are also said to suspect the involvement of “Israel’s leading organized crime families” in the gambling ring. Those arrested were held on suspicion of organizing illegal gambling activity, money laundering and tax violations.
Internet gambling in Israel is legal, but the only sites allowed to target and direct marketing to Israeli citizens in Hebrew are lottery and sports betting sites approved to do so by the central government; running an online casino in Israel is completely illegal. However, foreign online gambling websites prosper out of the reach of Israeli authorities and Internet gambling today is extremely popular in the country, particularly among Israeli teensl.