New Pro Online Gambling Coalition Forms to Go Head to Head with Adelson’s Group
A new coalition in favor of online gambling regulation has formed in direct competition to Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
The new group, called the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection, or C4COP, features a couple of prominent GOP names, like Mary Bono (wife of the late Sonny Bono and former Congresswoman from California) and former United States Representative Mike Oxley of Ohio, Politico.com reported earlier this week.
Group has support of AGA, MGM, others
C4COP, which made its public debut this past Wednesday, is proving right from the start that it is willing to pack a hefty punch.
In addition to having Bono and Oxley on board, the coalition is backed by the major industry lobbying group the American Gaming Association (AGA), MGM, and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA).
Also on the roster is Jim Messina, a major Democratic party player.
Speaking to the clout that Adelson, head of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., wields – and the might he has thanks to his wealth (Adelson is the eleventh richest person in the United States) – Executive Director of the PPA John Pappas said, “The concern is that a lot of money can buy you traction, and Adelson has a lot of money.”
“They are trying to deliver a message that misrepresents the issue, and for those of us who have been following this issue for a long time, we see through the blatant hypocrisy and misrepresentation. The average American may not be familiar with this issue at all and can be taken by some of the PR push that they are making,” Pappas continued.
Rollout to feature significant media push
C4COP’s first move will be a $250,000 ad buy, with ads running in the Washington D.C. and Nevada markets, aimed at countering Adelson’s well-publicized message that regulating real money online poker and other Internet casino games would lead to an array of problems, including access to sites by underage players and gambling addicts, as well as the potential that real money betting web sites could be used to launder money.
Adelson’s group is not only working to fight the legalization of Internet wagering at the federal level via an update to the 1961 Federal Wire Act, but is also on the ground at the state level. Many pundits and gambling industry experts expect that state by state regulation is likely to be the means by which Americans gain increasing access to such games in the coming years.
Three states already have online wagering markets up and running, those being New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada.
“The proponents of Internet gambling are selling a business model that will lead to spiraling debt and job losses for the middle class to deliver profits to giants like MGM and Caesars. Internet gambling is a bridge too far that Americans cannot abide,” the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling purported in a statement.
MGM’s Executive Vice President Alan Feldman refuted this claim, saying, “I think we have the best resource. We have the facts.”
“He’s playing on people’s fears, he’s making all kinds of claims and making all kinds of accusations that simply aren’t true, so we’re going to stick to the facts and hope that the facts might win out,” Feldman remarked.
Regulation brings safeguards, lack of regulation presents security risks
Those who take the opposing tack than Adelson, a deep-pocketed GOP donor who is said to have given some $100 million to Republican candidates and causes in 2012, note that legalization should, in fact, make online gambling much safer, considering that in the regulated marketplace both operators and players are vetted, meaning that fraudulent financial transactions and access by minors is combatted.
In the absence of regulation, the online gambling market is left to offshore, unlicensed companies, resulting in a far less secure playing experience for all involved.
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