December 04, 2007. A casino in Eilat by 2008 is now a big possibility when Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch of Israeli Tourism has announced during the Knesset Economics Committee meeting Monday that the tourism ministry is planning to put up a legalized casino in a southern part of Eilat.
Aharonovitch’s announcement was a big surprise especially that Sheldon Adelson, a casino business tycoon, has already given up his project of putting up a casino in the country.
According to the tourism minister, a casino in Israel will generate revenues that will be essential to the welfare, education and health of the people and since online casinos are illegal in Israel, it will help prevent illegal gambling online.
He added that a legalized casino will, of course, stop illegal casinos operating in the country and shall bring a big boost of tourism in the southern city.
Aharanovitch, however, emphasized that a strong support from the Israeli police, who would be essential to the casino plan, especially in safeguarding the area surrounding the casino and closing down illegal gambling institutions.
The Israel Hotels Association, the national lottery and the municipality of Eilat support Aharanovitch proposition because it will generate revenue the same way it generates job opportunities.
Religious MKs, on the contrary, do not support the casino plan because according to them, a casino will just heighten problems like prostitution, drugs and other casino-related crimes.