Knesset Panel Gives Nod to Betting on the Ponies

Bill would allow Israelis to bet on horse races in Britain, elsewhere in the world.

With the looming prospect of the Knesset's dissolution, parliamentary committees on Monday dealt with a range of pending matters, including a bill touted by Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat that, if passed, would allow Israelis to bet on horse racing.

The proposal, which passed the Finance Committee yesterday, would make it legal within six months for Israelis to bet online on horse races in Britain; they would be allowed to bet on equestrian races elsewhere around the world, but not in Israel, within a year, by filling out a form at a local Toto Winner sports betting outlet.


The coalition mobilized support for the proposal, but it was opposed in committee by Shachiv Shnaan of Atzmaut, a coalition partner, as well as Shai Hermesh of the opposition Kadima party. Culture and Sports Ministry director general Orly Fruman said horse race betting would increase revenues at the Toto Winner sports betting council, which in turn supports the construction of community sports facilities around the country.

Sigal Bukstein of the animal rights organization Hakol Chai, said the proposal would lead to horse racing in Israel, which her group views as a social ill.