In a region where social and political tension is high and in some instances, mere life is a gamble, one may wonder where citizens of the Middle East find time to unwind, relax and enjoy life. As some individuals may not entirely enjoy casino life, it is definitely an environment in which people can escape, play hard, win big (hopefully) and live life. There are two countries in the Middle East that stand above the rest in term of casino life, though progress to reform the legality of gambling is still under way in many of the nations in this region. These countries are Lebanon and Israel.
In Israel, legislators have yet to finalize the legalization of gambling, though there are numerous gambling establishments operating within the food and entertainment district. These establishments are overseen by the Israeli government (Knesset) and moreover, the slot machines authorized by the Ministry of Finance. Eilat, the southern most port city in Israel, is where most gambling occurs. The Eilat casinos are located in the Red Sea onboard Casino Ships! Currently, there are six different ships ranging from passenger ships to yachts, many of which were purchased from other state’s ex-Presidents.
Casino Victoria cruising off the coast of Eilat, Israel
Unlike America’s mainly bipartisan electoral process, Israel had around thirty political parties competing for seats in the Knesset, one of which was the Casino Party. Although, they don’t currently hold seats in the Knesset, they strived to legalize casinos on these grounds:
1) To compete with the extremely successful Palestinian casino in Jericho, this was to be followed by another in Tull-Karm (the Palestinian casino is closed now)
2) To keep the Israelis’ hard-earned money in Israeli hands, which could help fund various social events (like the lottery does, at present)
3) To provide people with job opportunities, and undoubtedly other rationalizations. But, the arguments against such legalization were also quite powerful, and they were:
a) Casino gambling is very closely associated with organized crime
b) Gambling is addictive in nature. It has the possibility of creating another ill of society, and
c) Legalizing it somewhat “koshers” an otherwise dishonest means of making money.
On the other hand, Lebanon has a very positive and legal casino life. They have one land casino in Jounieh, located 15 miles north of Beirut, which also includes many night clubs and resorts. In addition, there are cruise casino ships and horse tracks in Lebanon. It is interesting that Israel has not yet legalized gambling, seeing as though their counterpart’s casino industry is flourishing. The competition is there, though Israel has yet to fully take advantage of this opportunity. Why do you think Israel has yet to legalize gambling or build a land casino? If a casino is built in israel, do you believe it will be a target for terrorists?