fter three years of freezing the matter, a month ago Olmert ordered the establishment of a group, led by the treasury’s director general, Yarom Ariav, to study the issue and to prepare a master plan to decide whether a casino resort is viable, and whether such an establishment would be run by a private franchisee or the state.
At the same time, the outgoing head of the Mifal Hapayis national lottery, Shimon Katznelson, has been discussing the possibility of the lottery running a casino with Raanan Dinur, general director of the Prime Minister’s Office.
At the same time, Dinur asked Katznelson a month ago to submit a detailed plan for a Payis-run casino, according to sources inside the lottery. He then established a professional team to formulate such a plan, which will be presented to Olmert at the beginning of November.
Land-based casinos are currently illegal in Israel, and after a casino in the ancient city of Jericho was closed a number of years ago, Israelis have had to travel abroad or gamble on offshore casino cruise ships.