Recent protests in the streets against corruption within the Gambling Commission have once again demonstrated the ineffectiveness and inability of elected officials to represent the people. In the past, the Gambling Commission was formed as an independent administrative entity to regulate the sport industry in Jordan. Its mission was to safeguard the interest of punters and to encourage the expansion of casinos in Jordan. However, in recent years, it has become a political instrument used to further stifle and control the population.

Just over a week ago, more than 2100 residents demonstrated against a purported corruption investigation involving a high-rolling casino, in central Amman. More than a thousand people participated in a third demonstration organized by the Muslim opposition in Amman. The protesters also demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Ali Makhsoos and the removal of the current government. The Al Qaeda-linked Islamic Action Center in Amman was the venue that hosted the largest number of protesters. They wore banners that read, “The people want to stop corruption in Gambling.” Some of them were carrying placards that featured images of Ali Baba, the former King of Jordan who is currently the Gambling Commission chairman.

Recently Ali Makhsoos was quoted as saying that he had no plans to quit and would continue to be the head of the Gambling Commission until his term expires at the end this year. He claimed that he made the decision to stay in the position despite numerous requests to step down. Many people believe that the allegations against him are politically motivated. They are designed to undermine Jordan’s fragile democratic system. Many of those who believe the allegations are motivated by politics are based on the fact that Makhsoos is a member of the minority National Guard that is protecting the regime. Many see the Gambling Commission, in addition to this accusation as a huge business lobby group that tries to encourage Jordanian casinos as well as create its own sector.

A majority of the people I spoke with were not concerned about the political aspects of it all , and instead focused on their dislike of Makhsoos and the way in which the Gaming Commission was run. One resident shared how much she disliked Makhsoos who claimed that he would sneak into her hotel room when she was at the casino and take money from her. Another said that before he took her money the Gaming Commission was allowing her to pay him in cash. They believe all the allegations against Makhsoos to be true, but they are afraid of what they could be. They therefore choose to remain silent and let the Gaming Commission do what it likes.

The current situation in Jordan is making it difficult for those who run the country’s casinos. They are facing serious threats from members of the Al Qaeda linked Islamic Party and other groups that are believed to be supported by Osama Bin Laden. Anyone associated with the gambling industry in Jordan is also at risk. The tourism industry will suffer , and with it the livelihoods and jobs of the residents of Jordan.

There are also concerns over the future of the current Jordanian slot machines. Most of these casinos are run by foreign companies including those from India and Ireland. They operate by gambling casinos or hotels. A lot casinos do not have direct connection to the Jordan Lottery Commission or the Al Qaeda linked groups.

These casinos, which are illegal, and their affiliates have taken over the gambling areas and slot machines of many of the country’s hotels and motels. They charge patrons huge fees and their operations are not controlled in any way. This allows an illegal industry to manage one of the largest industries in the country. This is causing millions to be lost in tax revenue each year to the government, private sector, and native American gaming communities.

The native American casinos earn money by processing passports and traveler’s visas before the player makes their way home. These companies also process visitor’s visas and passports for tourists visiting the country. Gambling through video poker is a significant source of revenue for these businesses. Native American casinos are particularly rich in the field of video poker and slot gambling. This type of business is the lifeblood of many of these companies.

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