From time to time, in the last 20 years, the notion of examining whether to establish a casino in Israel comes back to life. So far, this issue has not received much advancement by the government, for various reasons, such as religious parties’ opposition, the fear of an increase in gambling addictions, ideological opposition to casinos and so on and so forth.

Two weeks ago, another step towards an examination of the possibility of establishing a casino was taken.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, headed a meeting, in which the Minister of Tourism, the Minister of Transport and senior officials participated, on the issue of establishing a casino in Eilat. During this meeting it was made clear that examining the feasibility of opening a casino is due to the need to save Eilat from economic collapse, and to create thousands of jobs in the city. It was decided that the Minister of Tourism will chair a steering committee which will examine the issue.

In this context it should be emphasized that the importance of examining this issue is reinforced in light of the review currently being taken as to the feasibility of establishing a casino in the Jordanian city of Aqaba, which is near Eilat, something that might draw more tourists from Eilat to Aqaba.  In such circumstances, the absence of a casino in Eilat will serve as a blow that Eilat might find it difficult to recover from.

It should be noted that if the decision will be taken to establish a casino in Israel, it will require enacting legislation designed to regulate the activities of the casino and myriad of related issues – licensing, anti-money laundering, employees’ training, compliance and much more. Although there is a long way until such legislation moves forward, interested parties should already prepare for such a possibility and act accordingly.