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Jericho Casino Facing Ban by Hamas

The Oasis Casino in Jericho, Jordan, is facing a great deal of pressure from Hamas, the newly-elected governing party of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Hamas has reportedly committed itself to preventing the Oasis Casino from reopening. The casino is owned by Casinos Austria, opened in 1998, and closed in 2000 due to the intifada, the violent Palestinian uprising. According to Islamic law, gambling is strictly forbidden. Hamas officials were reported as saying that most Palestinians would be happy to see the casino gone, as well as a reopening would simply not be tolerated.

Many Palestinians felt that the casino was a source of corruption, as the majority of the money and revenues allegedly went straight to the bank accounts of senior PA leaders. Hamas is also outraged about something else not directly touching Islamic law. Because the casino was built on land belonging to the Waqf (Islamic trust) Hamas officials will reportedly do everything to prevent the casino from reopening. Hundreds of supporters have already signed a petition to close down the casino.

Regarding online casino gambling, it really is uncertain if the online casino industry has reached Jordan. However, regarding the Oasis Casino and land-based casino gambling, Hamas wishes to eradicate them from the country. The Oasis Casino never did receive a license from the Jericho Municipality, but obtained a special license from the PA Finance Ministry, which enabled it to operate. At the time, Hamas and other Islamic groups were extremely against the casino. The PA leadership, however, allowed it to open, under the belief that the casino would only permit Israelis and Westerners to gamble.

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.