Adelson Gearing Up for New Attack on Internet Gambling
A feature piece in the Washington Post warns that Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO and outspoken opponent of the regulation of Internet-based wagering in the United States, Sheldon Adelson, is ready to take up the fight anew and will be taking his campaign to Washington D.C. as well as working to combat online betting legalization at the state level.
Sheldon to work to pass ban at federal level
Adelson, who has built a long – and lucrative – career in the land-based casino industry, wrote a provocative op-ed piece that appeared on Forbes.com this past summer in which he said, “Whether it is full casino gaming, poker only, or anything in between – this is a societal train wreck waiting to happen.”
With some type of regulated online gambling now legal in three states – Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey – where sites are set to go live in just over a week – Adelson will be directing his efforts to pass restrictions at the federal level as well as at the state level, according to the Post.
Adelson has hired three former lawmakers, Wellington Webb, the first African-American mayor of Denver; former New York Governor George Pataki; and former Senator from Arkansas Blanche Lincoln to both speak and write in favor of restrictions on online wagering at the national level.
The Sands head also intends to hire lobbying firms who will focus on state by state restrictions.
Opposition to online gambling is said to be unmotivated by politics
Though Adelson, who is 80 years old, has donated eye-popping sums to GOP candidates and causes in recent years (he reportedly gave $100 million to Republican interests in 2012) and has supported pro-Israel objectives in the past, the paper reports that his recent crusade against the rise of real money online poker and other forms of Internet betting in the United States is divorced from his political activities.
It should be noted that his three new recruits are of mixed political background; Lincoln and Webb are Democrats while Pataki is a Republican.
“I don’t believe this issue is about him, because if it was about him, I wouldn’t do it. Unlike where he was in the presidential, he’s on the right side of this issue,” Democrat Webb was quoted as saying.
Adelson rankled many with Forbes piece
Adelson’s article in Forbes did little to endear him to fans of online poker and those in the gambling media, many of whom struck back at Adelson and pointed out what they saw as his hypocrisy in splitting hairs between online wagering and its land-based casino predecessors.
Competitors of Sands were also quick to note that without regulation of online poker and and other games in the United States, many players instead sign up with unregulated sites operated by offshore companies that often do not have policies to ensure even the most basic of safeguards.
By contrast, regulated markets – such as those now up and running in Nevada and Delaware – have in place systems to prevent players who are underage or who are not located within state borders from accessing real money games.