Tourism Minister pushes for casino in Israel

Yariv Levin, Tourism Minister will be meeting with officials of the government to look at possible options for opening a hotel-casino.

Israel.- Israel’s Tourism Minister Yariv Levin will be meeting with government’s officials to consider possible options for a casino creation. It has transpired that a committee was created to review casino legalisation and its purpose is to design a plan and present it to the government later this year.

The committee includes the Mayor of Eilat Meir Yitzhak Halevi, the Prime Minister’s Office director as well as the director of the Finance Ministry, among other officials. The committee will draft a memorandum for a measure within a three month time frame that will create a hotel-casino area to be located in Eilat. Casinos are illegal in Israel and the only Mifal HaPayis can offer sports betting options in the country.

In the memorandum, the committee would decide the location of the facility, the conditions for licensing and limitations on citizens of Israel for entry to the casino. Betting limits are also being considered, including the number of visits to the casino a person will be allowed to make plus time spent at the venue during each visit.

A report by the Tourism Ministry found that two to four casinos would be viable economically in the region with each offering a conference centre as well as hotel. With the additions, Eilat would have 4,000 guest rooms in total at local hotels. The report also found that tourism would increase by 15 percent with gamblers spending an average of US$160 and 11,000 jobs being created due to construction and positions within the casinos and hotels. At this point, Eilat does not have the means to compete in terms of tourism without new hotels and according to Levin new hotels have been built in the area in ten years.