Tourism Minister Pushes for Casino in Israel
Casino said to be built in 2011.
Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov announced Wednesday he will be pushing to build a casino in Israel next year, according to Ynet News.
Ministers of Tourism have announced this sort of thing before, although no construction plans have ever actually been carried out.
Over the course of the past 10 years, almost all of Israel's tourism ministers planned to build a casino in Eilat. In 2003, the Prime Minister's office attempted to promote the establishment of two casinos in southern Israel, however the plan never materialized.
Both Abraham Hirchson and Yitzhak Aharonovitch promised to set up casinos during their stints as tourism ministers.
The question of setting up a casino in Israel has been debated for more than 25 years, but no significant steps have ever been taken to further the plan. Three different committees have discussed proposals to build a casino over the years, two of which had been government-appointed.
The illegal gambling industry in Israel currently generates close to NIS 20 billion ($5.43 billion) a year.
Social considerations aside, establishing a casino could bring the State of Israel large amounts of money. According to Ynet, it is estimated that a casino would boost the economic activity of the area where it is built by creating jobs, increasing demand for trade, accommodation, food etc.
According to reports, a casino would also increase the state's revenue in taxes. Legalization of gambling facilities would prevent unreported funds and could also reduce incidents of money laundering.
Israel is currently losing potential tax revenues because of the illegal gambling industry.