Israeli stake in Rhodes casino

5/21/2001 (By Greer Fay Cashman, The Jerusalem Post) RHODES – Resido, a subsidiary of publicly traded Israeli investment companies Queenco and Milomour, with a 65 percent stake in the Rhodes casino, is aiming to attract high-rollers with the construction of a 32-suite boutique hotel, which will be rented out at $10,000 a night per suite.

Details of this enterprise were disclosed by the casino’s manager, Dan Ratzkovski, who took up the post late last year at the request of Yigal Zilka, one of the partners in Resido.

Realizing soon after the outbreak of the current violence that Israelis who had previously gambled in Jericho would be searching for a new outlet, Zilka approached Ratzkovski, who has extensive experience in managing resort hotels in Israel.

Because Rhodes, with its inexpensive package deals is less than 90 minutes flight away, and because 90% of the 55,000 Israelis who flock to Rhodes each year find their way to the casino, it seemed a natural alternative to Jericho.

Ratzkovski is not so sure. Many big time Israeli gamblers are now frequenting the casinos of Eastern Europe, he said. That’s why he wants to create a special luxury venture for the gambler who can get into a private plane on a whim.

Concurrent with its plans to lure the kind of player who gambles $100,000 or more a night, Resido is not ignoring the larger Israeli potential.

While the average Israeli gambler will risk only $200-$300 a night, said Ratzkovski, increasing the number of such gamblers in Rhodes will also raise casino revenues. This is one of the tasks of Dan Danziger, Resido’s director of aviation and tourism, who organizes and accompanies large groups of Israelis to Rhodes and steers them in the direction of the casino.

Making them feel at home in the casino and getting them to dine in the elegant in-house restaurant is the task of Leon Ben-Amron, who previously worked with Ratzkovski in hotels in Israel and who took up his new post only two weeks ago.

Soon to arrive from Israel is a new chef Sharon Ben-Chelouche, who will probably introduce a little Israeli flavor into the restaurant’s menu.

Israelis are also part of the casino’s security personnel.

Hebrew is the most frequently heard language during weekends, and there are signs in Hebrew for the benefit of Israeli gamblers who know neither English nor Greek.

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