Israel problems for Victor Chandler?


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

Online gambling executive detained for two hours

The CEO of the Victor Chandler Group, Michael Carlton was briefly detained by officials whilst on a visit to Israel this week, according to media reports surfacing as we went to press.

Details are sketchy, but it is understood that the officials questioned Carlton for almost two hours before allowing him to go, with the official euphemism that he had been "cooperating with the authorities."

Given Carlton's professional position and the fact that the V-C group has been doing very well in Israel in opposition to state-controlled gambling services, it is not too much of a stretch to conclude that the *discussion* centred on Israel's gambling industry.

However, this is speculation in the absence of official statements from either party.

Last year, Carlton was reported as saying: The real problem in Israel is unfair competition from the government monopoly gambling board. The Israeli gambler is smart and knows he is getting a better deal from us. We return 92 percent of our income to punters, while on some products the Israeli government pays out just 42 percent of income.

The incident follows what seemed to be intimidatory behaviour on the part of Israeli police officials (see previous InfoPowa reports) last month, when a senior police officer, Major General Yohanan Danino apparently backed by the AG warned online backgammon sites that in their opinion the activity was illegal and should cease, but no prosecutions have been launched and their opinion remains untested in a court of law.


Carlton clears the air on detention reports

Safely back in his Gibraltar headquarters, Victor Chandler group CEO Michael Carlton has issued a statement clarifying his widely reported "detention" by the authorities in Israel earlier this week.

In fact the meetings were prearranged says Carlton, commenting: "I traveled to Israel for a preplanned meeting with government ministers, at their invitation, regarding licensing arrangements in the country. Before leaving I was invited to spend two hours with the Israeli authorities answering their questions regarding online gambling in Israel, he said, not detailing what the questions were.

Victor Chandler currently advertises in and accepts bets from Israel, although other operators do not, as gambling is overseen by a state-run monopoly there. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, in December 2006, Israeli state prosecutor Eran Shendar decided to outlaw online gambling by private operators and police warned credit card companies that by processing transactions for operators they would be committing a felony offence.

Carlton said: Israel is currently a fraction of the Victor Chandler business. However, we are keen to work with the authorities in Israel going forward and have already opened discussions with Knesset members.

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