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Casino du Liban Board Approves Accounts

30 March 2006

BEIRUT, Lebanon – As reported by the INA Daily News: "The new board of directors of Casino du Liban approved Tuesday the accounts of the casino over the past seven years which showed an increase in gross revenues from $80 million in 1998 to $130 million in 2005. Announcing the figures at a news conference, casino chairman Elie Ghoraieb attributed the impressive results to a series of measures he adopted since being named president in 1999.

"He also talked about the heavy political pressure on him and his administration since he took office but emphasized that he had never bowed to pressure and intimidation.

"But Ghoraieb criticized the Finance Ministry for 'unjustifiably slamming 30 percent in tax on the gross revenues of slot and poker machines although the contract clearly stipulates that the government collects LL1,000 a year from each slot machine.'

"The chairman, heaped praise on President Emile Lahoud for supporting his work and vehemently denied allegations that the casino was tucking away some of its revenues for nefarious purposes.

"…According to a 30 year contract with the casino, 30 percent of gross revenues go to the Finance Ministry. But the casino administration stressed that the 30 percent only applies to roulette tables, back jack and other table games.

"The Finance Ministry and the Central Bank control 48 percent of Intra Investment Company and the remainder is divided among Gulf and Lebanese shareholders…"

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