The Israeli Treasure Department is pulling the plug on a group of state-sponsored slot machines as the result of a licensing feud that just couldn’t be solved. It’s a move that won’t have a huge impact on the Israeli gambling business, but is considered a huge win for the country’s anti-gambling forces.
The machines in question were run by Mifal Hapayis, the Israeli state lottery monopoly and generated around $208 million (USD) in revenue each year. (That number is pretty impressive given the fact that there are only 500 slot machines and 150 keno machines under Mifal Hapayis’ authority.)
Treasury Department officials say that the lottery should be able to make up their lost revenue with a series of 14 additional lottery drawings that were approved for this year.
Treasury Department officials had been negotiating with Treasury Department officials over the machines’ licensing status for quite some time, but were likely stymied by the efforts of anti-gambling crusader, and Israeli Finance Minister, Moshe Kahlon.
Kahlon celebrated the slot machine shutdown as a big victory and crowed about his in the Haaretz, an Israeli daily newspaper, saying:
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. I am hurt by the thousands of families that have lost their property, their money, their homes and even their families.
So far there’s no word on when, if ever, the slot and keno machines will be plugged back in and opened to the public.