The bust last week that ended up in the arrests and detention of several online gambling participants has gotten even more interesting over the past week. There were seven people arrested and 18 detained for operating illegal online gambling sites that were also laundering money. The police said that they were believed to be making millions of shekels per year with their online gambling in Canada.
However, now it seems that there was more than just ordinary online gambling going on. They were also influencing the results of games. Four of the suspects, Aryeh Avraham, Yossi Ben-Shitreet, David Hachmon, and Eliran Oved had their remands extended until next Sunday.
They say that the bets were placed through regional and group leaders, and that each online gambling got their own ID number which allowed them to log in. You were given the number to the closed list once you had already made significant down payments to the site to cover their bets. They were using the site to allegedly launder profits from other illegal businesses that they were running.
They believe that in addition to the online gambling site, they were also involved in prostitution, drug dealing and loan sharking. Players could place bets in amounts ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands of shekels per week. They say that one of the suspects had already been charged and convicted on counts of bribery and threats against the Hapoel Beersheba soccer team in an attempt to influence the results of the matches.
The sweep was handled by the International and Serious Crimes Unit working with the Gidonom Unit which is part of the Israel Polices Lahav 433 unit as well as their equivalent of our FBI.
It would seem that Israel is jumping on the online gambling ban as well. Knesset member Amnon Cohen of the Orthodox Shas party is attempting to get all online gambling banned.
Cohen presented a bill that would make online gambling illegal, and would ban sex and violence oriented web sites in Israel. The bill has already passed its first reading, and is expected to continue.
The bill would make it so that Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, would automatically block online casinos, online poker sites, online gambling sites of really any kind, online porn sites, and more. Customers would need to specifically ask to be allowed to visit those sites and would have to get permission to.
The Economic Affairs Committee will next have a look at it, and then it will go back to Knesset for a second and third reading. If it is passed, filtering software will need to be present for all new clients. The software must be offered free of charge, and service providers will have the right to impose the filtering system on all of their clients.
Those that do not want to have the filtering system will have to ask for it to be disabled, prove that they are older than the majority age and submit a personal request stating that they want it removed. Cohen says that the online gambling sites and porn, etc. need to be filtered out as there are too many children who have access to the internet and they need to be protected from what they might see on it.
Cohen has said that the new bill would protect 60% of children who come in contact with these kinds of sites. This seems to be what has given the online gambling ban its legs and the support that is being shown for it.