Netanyahu appoints committee to study casino legalisation

Its members will explore the advantages and disadvantages of opening not one, but up to four casinos in the southern city of Eilat.

Israel.- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems determined to legalise casino gambling in the Jewish state. With that purpose he has appointed a committee to discuss the creation of four casinos or more in the southern resort of Eilat.

Anat Sichor, tourism ministry spokeswoman, used Macau, the Asian gambling hub, as a successful example adding that: “We’re not anxious to have gambling itself but with proper inspection and limitations we can succeed like other cities in the world where casinos benefited them.” Legalising casinos will be the “engine leading to more hotel rooms being built, which will drive the price of a holiday down, thereby attracting more visitors,” Sichor concluded.

However, the opposition to the projected legalisation has been strong. Hard-right and ultra-orthodox coalition partners and Jewish and Arab opposition legislators are presenting a united front against the measure.

Netanyahu needs the Knesset to approve the plan to legalise gambling and it is likely he will fail to win over a majority. Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home coalition partner, Aida Tuma Suleiman, a legislator from the predominantly Arab Joint List grouping,  Haim Katz Israel’s social welfare minister and even Oren Hazan, the Likud party legislator who used to manage a casino in Bulgaria before joining the Knesset, have manifested against casino legalisation in Israel.