Adelson Willing to Shell Out a Bundle to Halt U.S. Online Betting

Sheldon Adelson, the head of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. – and number eleven on the list of richest Americans – is known for making inflammatory statements, so it should come as no surprise that he continues to make them.

Just last month, Adelson said he believes that the United States ought to launch a nuclear attack against Iran, but that bit of wisdom came before Adelson began assembling a team of lawyers, former legislators, and lobbyists to aid him in his crusade to put a stop to online gambling in the U.S.

That focus has put Adelson back in the headlines in recent days, as he is sharpening his sword in his newest efforts to combat the proliferation of Internet gambling.

In interview, Adelson reveals limitless budget for his quest

Earlier this week, a story in the Washington Post reported that Adelson, a prominent GOP supporter who in 2012 was said to have given some $100 million to Republican candidates and causes, has hired a bi-partisan team to help spread his anti-online gambling message.

Adelson’s new lineup includes former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and former Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, both Democrats. Also on board is former New York Governor George Pataki, a Republican.

Later this week, in an interview Adelson said that he won’t be moved from this goal, telling Forbes, “I am willing to spend whatever it takes.”

“My moral standard compels me to speak out on this issue because I am the largest company by far in the industry and I am willing to speak out. I don’t see any compelling reason fort he government to allow people to gamble on the Internet and nobody has ever explained except for the two companies whose special interest is going to be served if there is gaming on the Internet, Caesars and MGM,” Adelson said.

Issue has been fuel for opponents’ fire

Adelson, who is 80 years old and has also been an outspoken supporter of Israel, his wife being an Israeli national, has been making enemies of supporters of online gambling and regulated real money online poker in the U.S. for months.

In June, an op-ed piece he published on Forbes.com that railed against Internet betting created quite a stir in the gambling community, causing some to call for boycotts of Sands properties.

Some industry observers, however, were quick to point out that Adelson’s staunch viewpoint serves only to bolster the arguments of pro-online gambling factions, who note that in the absence of regulation at either the state or federal levels, offshore, unregulated online betting companies enter the market and put into place none of the checks that the regulated industry does.

For example, Adelson and his cronies argue that online gambling web sites make it easier for underage players to access real money games, a point refuted by those in support of regulated online gaming. In a regulated scenario, elaborate checks are in place to prevent such access.

In regulated gambling markets outside the United States, which have been thriving for years, access by minors has not turned out to be an issue, in part due to sophisticated systems to verify age, identity, and location.

Backers of regulated online gambling have said that Adelson’s very vocal campaign has the potential to work in their favor by bringing more attention to the matter, which could result in more states deciding to follow the lead of Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, the three states that have cleared the way for residents to visit real money wagering web sites.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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