Israeli lawmakers are considering a bill that would legalize poker tournaments.
If the measure proposed by Likud MK Sharren Haskel is passed by the Knesset, it would end the definition of poker as gambling. Up to very recently, poker players were subject to a year in prison and those convicted of organizing poker tournaments were liable to face up to three years in prison.
But recently Supreme Court Judge Neal Hendel handed down a ruling that poker is a game of skill rather than luck, writing in his decision, “The fact that the players go to contests and tournaments year after year strengthens the conclusion that it is not a game of luck.”
The bill currently before the Knesset is intended to enshrine in law the ruling by the Court, as well as create regulations for the Israeli Poker Players Association, empowering it to organize tournaments at the national and international level. Such ventures and their earnings would be controlled by Israel’s Finance Ministry.