After last week being forced to shut down its estate of slot and keno machines, Israeli national lottery operator Mifal HaPayis was reportedly granted a temporary reprieve courtesy of a ruling from the country’s Supreme Court.
According to a report from the daily Haaretz newspaper, Mifal HaPayis was forced to cease offering automated games of chance from January 1 after failing to reach an agreement with the Finance Ministry concerning the renewal of its lottery operating license.
The termination was reportedly a condition of Mifal HaPayis being granted a temporary extension to its national lottery operating license but the move prompted franchisees in Israel, which offer the electronic machines as well as lottery tickets and sportsbetting services, to take the matter to court and argue that the cessation order had come “without prior notice” and had “seriously harmed their incomes”.
“Bettors continue to gamble but instead of the money going to Mifal HaPayis, which builds schools, it’s going into the pockets of loan sharks of the underworld,” read a statement from an unidentified lawyer working on behalf of the Mifal HaPayis licensees cited by Haaretz. “The treasury may want to save gamblers but it’s causing them to sink deeper into the mud with loans from the grey market.”
Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danzinger reportedly agreed with the plaintiffs on Monday and subsequently ordered Mifal HaPayis to reactivate its estate of 500 slot and 150 keno machines “until the court finally rules on the matter”.
In the end, Haaretz reported that the temporary extension proved to be profitable for Mifal HaPayis as the operator eventually agreed a new license that gives it a monopoly until the end of 2021. Moreover, the firm was permitted to offer up to eight keno draws per day to residents of upper middle-class neighborhoods in exchange for agreeing to remove all “luck” machines from its lottery ticket kiosks.