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Israeli official bets on casino

6 December 2007

ISRAEL -- As reported by the Jerusalem Post: "Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who recently launched the world's biggest gambling complex, may have given up on hopes of establishing a casino in Israel, but Tourism Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Monday said he plans to push hard for a legal gambling house in the southern city of Eilat.

"Aharonovitch made the announcement Monday at a meeting of the Knesset Economics Committee where he presented the ministry's work plan for 2008.

"...When Adelson, the world's richest Jew, launched the Venetian Macau in August, he said after years of trying to open a casino here he had given up due to politics and an exhausting bureaucracy.

"According to Aharonovitch, establishing a casino in Eilat must be done together with the building of a special police force that would be active in the casino surroundings and which would work to close down underground gambling institutions.

"...Aharonovitch is not alone in his desire for a casino in Eilat. Two weeks ago the municipality of Eilat, the Israel Hotels Association and Mifal Hapayis [Israel National Lottery] reached an agreement on the subject. Eilat's Mayor Meir Yitzhak HaLevy, Chairman of Mifal Hapayis Shimon Katzenelson and Chairman of the Israel Hotels Association Eli Gonen agreed that not only would a casino alone be built in Eilat but rather an entire entertainment and convention center that would include a casino but no accommodation facilities..."

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