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Israel Still Discussing Casino Approval

For many years, Israel has discussed the possibility of building and operating land-based casinos. With the typical for and against results and gambling being against the law, the subject did not make a great deal of headway. Recently, however, the casino concept has caught on, forcing Israel to seriously evaluate and consider the results of opening land-based casinos. With the online casino boom occurring all over the world, it seems Israel would like to have some part of the success of this new global industry. Although no discussions of online casino sites have taken place, one can only assume that if casinos built in Israel prove to be successful, eventually the next move might deal with legalizing online casinos.

The Israeli Financial Cabinet will finally discuss in its upcoming session the possible approval of Israel’s first brick-and-mortar casino. The casino, if approved, will be built in Eilat, the most popular vacation and resort location in the country. Abraham Hirshenzon, Israel’s Minister of Tourism, favors the casino, claiming it will bring visitors as well as revenues from tourists who gamble in other parts of the world. Also, he feels that the casino will create approximately fifty thousand jobs, in a country which is currently suffering a serious recession. The state income could be boosted to over two billion shekels if the casino is a success.

Groups of investors, including former member of the Israeli Parliament, Shmuel Plato Sharon, a successful businessman who has experience in floating casinos and has operated many of them in the Mediterranean Sea, believe in the casino. Although the project has been estimated to cost 50 to 100 million dollars to build, the Princess Hotel in Eilat and the investors are ready to fund the development. It seems that odds are in the favor of the casino, but all plans remain dormant until Israel decides whether or not to amend the gambling law and allow a casino to operate in Israel.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.

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