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Wagering On The West Bank

While most Palestinians would like Israelis to withdraw from the West Bank, CBS News Correspondent Jesse Schulman reports that some foreign investors are hoping a new casino might entice Israelis to travel to Jericho to try their hand at the gaming tables.

It's a little slice of Vegas, near the banks of the River Jordan, and it's the biggest thing to hit Jericho since Joshua.

It's the $150-million Oasis Casino, now open for business in the West Bank Palestinian town.

The casino has been built by a consortium of European investors, and it's already providing hundreds of jobs for the local community.

"It's a very big opportunity for us," says Alexander Tucek, director general of Oasis Casino. "It's a very big challenge to us, and it's a very big opportunity for the area."

Operators hope to attract gamblers from all over the world, but success depends on drawing their main clientele from Israel. Jerusalem is only a half-hour's drive away.

Israelis love to gamble, and this is the only casino they have for hundreds of miles in any direction. Still, getting them to come to Palestinian territory for a big night out sounds like a bit of a long shot.

The casino blends into the biblical town about as well as a spaceship from Mars. Jericho is a poor, agricultural backwater, and has been since time immemorial. It's a place where international high-rollers are a distinctly scarce commodity. Townspeople desperately need the jobs the casino brings, but there is opposition.

The operators say they've built casinos in stranger spots. They're confident Israelis will come, Palestinians will prosper, and investors will make a bundle. They may well be right, since the odds at a casino are always in the house's favor.