The Israeli Poker Community has welcomed the news of a submission in late November by Knesset member Sharren Haskel in which poker is redefined as a sport and not gambling following an Israeli Supreme Court ruling that defined the card game as a skill rather than a chance game.
According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, Haskel’s proposal would remove poker from the list of illegal gambling activity and open the doors to allowing poker tournaments.
Currently players caught playing poker face a one-year jail term and organisers a three-year jail term.
“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,” Haskel said.
Under the proposal, the Finance Ministry would control legalised poker in the country, while the Israel Poker Players Association would be formally recognised.
Players will face a hefty tax rate though, 50 percent of tournament winnings. Currently Israeli players who are tracked through poker statistics sites are subjected to a 35 percent tax rate on all winnings.
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