embers of a committee tasked with reviewing the establishment of casinos in Israel attended, including the directors of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Finance Ministry, Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi, and other top officials from government ministries.
The aim of the committee is to produce within three months a memorandum for a bill to set up a hotel-casino area in Eilat, local media reported, based on a document it said was circulated within the government. “This is an essential process. Eilat can’t compete in the world of tourism without at least new hotels,” said Levin. “The casino isn’t the goal, it’s the means.”
The memorandum will identify where the casino compound would be established, the conditions for issuing a license, and limitations for entry by Israeli citizens. Also under consideration will be limits on bets, the number of visits a person can make, and the amount of time visitors can spend inside in the casino in one stretch.
A Tourism Ministry report found that it would be economically viable to set up two to four casinos, each of which would also feature an adjacent conference center and a high-class hotel, adding a total of 4,000 hotel rooms to Eilat. The report estimated the casinos would increase tourism to Eilat by 15pc, that the average outlay by a casino gambler would be $160, and that the project would create 11,000 jobs.
Levin’s meeting came amid media reports that Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who opposes the casino plan, has adopted the recommendations of a committee led by his ministry calling for the removal of hundreds of slot machines operated by the national lottery company at its gaming centers around the country. Kahlon has said the machines are located in areas of weaker economic standing and amount to casino-like gambling.