Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appears to be the country's strongest supporter for a plan to open the country's first legal brick-and-mortar casino in the city of Eliat, on the Red Sea.
According to Israel's second commercial broadcasting Channel 10, Netanyahu asked some members of his cabinet to look into the possibility of opening at least one casino in the city in order to help the tourism industry diversify and become more competitive at the international level.
The primary goals of a casino in the region would be to fight against illegal gambling - which is currently an issue in Israel - and also attract tourists from Europe.
I have no doubt that the way to help Eliat economically and to increase the number is by means of a casino.
According to The Guardian, a commission formed by the Minister of Tourism, Yariv Levin, and the Minister of Transports, Yisrael Katz, is now evaluating whether it would be better for the state to proceed by allowing some of the existing hotels in the area to offer casino gambling, or by creating a new maxi-gambling complex in the soon-to-be-dismissed Eliat's airport.
"I am coordinating a detailed enquiry into this matter, and when it is concluded, I will present the conclusions to the Prime Minister and based on that, we will make decisions," Levin said in a radio interview earlier last week. "As tourism minister, I support this fully. I have no doubt that the way to help Eliat economically and to increase the number is by means of a casino."
The idea of legalizing casino gambling in the country is nothing new in Israel. Back in the Nineties, casino magnate and eighteenth richest man on earth, Sheldon Adelson, tried to push the idea. At that time, however, the plans proposed by the owner of the Las Vegas Sands were stalled after encountering strong criticism from Israel's public opinion.
"There is no doubt that a casino also has a very social potential and if we go ahead with this, we have to make sure that this is done with restrictions and supervision to prevent the casino from becoming an incubator for crime," Levin added.
Image courtesy of the YonkersTribune