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Jordan Plan to Legalize Casinos in Tourist Resorts
- February 18, 2016 By Nemanja L. -
Jordan government is ready to consider legalizing land-based casino gaming in popular tourist destinations as they hope to attract more tourists and provide a lift for the country’s struggling economy.
Vice-prime minister Ali Abu al-Ragheb spoke at the Amman Chamber Industry event last week, and he used the opportunity to reveal the government’s plans to offer casino licenses for gaming establishments in famous tourist destinations such as Petra and Aqaba.
But, before casino enthusiasts from Jordan start getting their hopes up, it is important to note that should these land-based casinos be built, they would only accept foreign clients, with tourists from nearby Iran targeted as the potential main source of income.
The interesting thing is that one of these tourist destinations, Aqaba, is situated across the famous Israeli resort Eilat, which is also in the process of issuing licenses to anywhere from two and four casino establishments.
This means that we could soon see legal casinos on either side of the Gulf of Aqaba, although both countries face a serious legal battle in an attempt to turn their plans into a reality.
This is especially true for Jordan, whose first attempt to legalize casino gaming in the country turned out a monumental failure, so we can only hope they have learned from their mistakes.
First Attempt Failed Miserably
Back in 2007, the then Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhitt signed a contract with UK company Oasis Holding Investment and it is now clear why he attempted to keep the deal a secret.
Namely, the 50-year contract also included a $1.4 billion penalty for the Jordan government in case of any problems, and it soon became clear that the agreement would be a no go.
As soon as the news of the deal surfaced in the media, religious groups started protesting in the streets, which resulted in the deal being canceled and Ministry of Tourism Osama Dabbas taking the fall for his PM.
It remains to be seen whether the second attempt will prove more successful, but the fact that the government is not keeping their plans a secret this time out is enough to suggest they have taken the correct path this time out.