Recent street demonstrations against corruption within the Gambling Commission have once again demonstrated the futility and inability of elected officials to represent the majority of the population. The Gambling Commission was established in the past as an independent administrative body that was created to regulate Jordan’s sports industry. Its purpose was to protect the interest of punters and to encourage the expansion of casinos in Jordan. In recent years, it has turned into an instrument of political control to marginalize or control the population.

Just a few days in the past, more than 2,100 residents demonstrated against a purported corruption investigation involving a high-rolling casino, in central Amman. Many more 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 hosted the largest amount of protesters. They held banners that read, “The people want to end corruption in Gambling.” Some of them carried placards featuring pictures of Ali Baba (the former king of Jordan and currently the Gambling Commission Chairman).

Ali Makhsoos, who was reported as saying recently that he did not intend to quit and would remain as the head of the Gambling Commission until the end of his term. He claimed that he made the decision to stay in the position despite numerous calls for him to step down. Many people believe that the accusations against him are politically motivated. They are designed to weaken Jordan’s fragile democratic system. Many believe that the charges are motivated by politics because Makhsoos is a member of the minority National Guard protecting the regime. Many view the Gambling Commission, in addition to this claim as a huge business lobby group that tries to promote Jordanian casinos and create its own sector.

A lot of locals I spoke to did not care about politics, but instead focused on their dislike for Makhsoos, and the way that the Gaming Commission was run. One resident shared that she was adamant about her dislike for Makhsoos, claiming that he used to come into her hotel room when she was at the casino to steal money from her. Another claimed that even before he took her money the Gaming Commission was allowing her to pay him in cash. It appears that the residents believe that all the allegations against Makhsoos are true, but they are hesitant to speak out because they are afraid of what they might be. In the same way, they’ll remain quiet and allow the Gaming Commission to do whatever it wishes.

The current situation in Jordan is proving very difficult for the people who run the country’s casinos. They are facing serious threats from Al Qaeda-linked Islamic Party members and other groups believed to be backed Osama bin Laden. Anybody who is associated with the gambling industry in Jordan is also in danger. The tourism sector in Jordan will be affected, as will the livelihoods, and jobs of Jordanians.

There are also concerns about the future of the current Jordanian slot machines. The majority of these casinos are run by foreign corporations from countries like India and Ireland and are operated from hotels and gambling casinos. A majority of these casinos aren’t affiliated with the Al Qaeda-linked groups or the Jordan Lottery Commission.

These casinos, which are illegal, and their affiliates have taken control of many motels and hotels in the country’s gambling and slot machines areas. They are charging huge fees from patrons , and there is little or no oversight of their operations. This allows an illegal industry to gain control of one of the biggest industries in the country. This is causing millions of dollars in tax revenue to be lost each year to the government as well as the private sector and the native American gaming communities.

Native American casinos make their revenue by processing visas and passports for travelers prior to their travel back home. These companies also handle tourist visas and passports. Gambling in the form of video poker is a significant source of revenue for these companies. Gambling on slots and video poker is particularly lucrative for the native American casinos in this troubled economy. This type of business is the lifeblood of a lot of these businesses.

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