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June 17, 2021

New proposal would allow only non-Israeli citizens to gamble at southern resort city facility

Netanyahu pushes on with Eilat casino idea

Netanyahu pushes on with Eilat casino idea
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to hold a meeting Wednesday with Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to advance a proposed casino in Eilat.
Israel | 02/16/2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to hold a meeting Wednesday with Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to advance a proposed casino in Eilat.

T

he idea of the casino in Eilat centers around the rule that no Israeli nationals will be allowed to gamble only foreign holiday makers, however many opponents have asked the question how will you know the difference as many Israeli citizens carry dual nationalities.

During the 1990s, casino tycoon and Netanyahu backer Sheldon Adelson attempted to open a casino in Israel to no avail, as the initiative was thwarted by various tourism ministers over the years.

The move would fulfill a campaign promise by Netanyahu to check the possible socioeconomic effects of legalizing a casino in Israel, and the reported interest in “connecting Eilat to the Israeli economy” by creating more jobs in the town.

Should the die be cast and the casino idea put into action, it could be placed on the site of the current Eilat airport, which is slated to be relocated.

Although casino gambling in Israel is illegal, some take cruises from Eilat on casino boats outside Israeli territorial waters to gamble. Operators of the casino boats have been accused of organizing illegal gambling, money laundering and tax offenses.

In 1998, a casino was opened in the Palestinian city of Jericho providing a loophole for Israeli gamblers as it was in Palestinian Authority-controlled territory. The casino closed in 2004, at the height of the Second Intifada.

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