In a victory for Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Israel has seen the closure of 500 slot machines and 150 keno machines after he began a crackdown on state-sponsored gambling.
The Mifal Hapayis national lottery turned off the automated games after negotiations with the treasury to renew its operating license failed to yield an agreement.
According to news outlet, Haaretz, finance Ministry officials agreed to extend the organisation’s license “for another 48 hours in order to wind up talks” on the condition that Mifal Hapayis immediately switched off the slot and keno machines.
Without these gambling machines, the national lottery has claimed that it will lose ₪800m (USD208m) annually and wants the treasury to compensate this sum.
However, ministry officials think this figure is far too generous as the government is offering Mifal Hapayis the opportunity to conduct extra lotteries. They claim the real figure should be under ₪250m due to these circumstances.
Eighteen months ago, Moshe Kahlon predicted, “there will not be a single gambling machine or any horse racing in Israel”, as a part of his anti-lottery crusade.
“Eighteen months ago I said there would no longer be slot machines in Israel, and I am very happy that from today there aren’t any anymore.”
As well as this, Kahlon intends to increase the taxes on lottery winnings, in the hopes of adding around ₪200m to the state treasury. Whilst according to Hareetz, the final terms of the agreement have yet to be reached, Mifal Hapayis has agreed to reduce its stake of 7.5% of earnings to 7%.