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Israel's tourism minister tags casino bill as primary goal

19 November 2007

ISRAEL -- As reported by the Israel Travel: "Tourism Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beitenu) announced Thursday that he intended to turn Eilat's future casino venture to the city's main tourist attraction.

"...Aharonovitch, a retired commander in the police force, has been trying to push for the building of a legal casino in Israel for the past several months and is optimistic that the government will approve his initiative.

"...'As a former officer of law enforcement I can say with confidence that a casino will cut back on the scale of illegal gambling and the criminal activity surrounding it.'

"...The question of whether or not Israel should license casinos has been examined repeatedly over the past 20 years, with two government committees and a third belonging to the Lottery Commission (Mifal Hapayis). The Gavish Committee, formed in 1995, finally determined that a casino should be built in Israel.

"...Eilat's tourist industry has been hitting a worrying slump, said Aharonovitch, and the fact that nearby resorts in Taba and Sharm el-Sheikh have casinos, does little to help the situation..."

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