Banning Online Gambling Akin to Prohibition of Alcohol, Says Steve Wynn
Sheldon Adelson has rankled many folks in the gambling industry as a result of his recently scaled-up quest to banish regulated online gambling from the United States, though if one wants to look at the bright side, at least he can be credited with starting up a spirited debate on the topic.
This week Steve Wynn, another man who, like Adelson has become rich and famous due to his long career in the casino industry, told reporters that Adelson’s odyssey is not dissimilar from prohibition of alcohol, this according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Wynn unsure about federal regulation
Though Wynn told reporters that he is unsure if the proliferation of state by state regulation will push the issue forward on the federal level, he said that in the absence of regulation of real money money online poker and other casino games, players will still access these games, albeit through unregulated sites.
“I’m not sure as I stand here where online gaming is going. Within the state of New Jersey it’s legal. Its status in America is much in doubt,” Wynn was quoted as saying.
“On the other hand, playing poker is America, and outlawing poker is like the Volstead Act where they outlawed beer,” Wynn continued. “I think it’s questionable whether Sheldon will be able to stop it, which is not to say he is wrong. I just think this sort of thing has a life of its own. I‘m neither a proponent nor opponent of it. I’m an observer of this process and the chairman of a publicly traded company that is required to pay attention to such things.”
Supporters point out advantages of regulated gaming
Indeed, Wynn’s comments that, much like alcohol, online gambling will not go away even if it is rendered illegal at federal or state levels, is the same argument that many supporters of legalized Internet betting in the U.S. make.
One of the concerns cited by Adelson, who is one of the richest men in the nation and has compared online gambling to a “toxin”, is that underage players will be able to access betting sites should they be made available in more locations. In fact, say proponents of regulation, the opposite is true.
With regulation comes greater enforcement of such safeguards as age and location checks to ensure that would-be underage players are restricted from accessing real-money betting sites. Also, concerns about money laundering and other nefarious activities have been greatly overblown by those who would like to see online betting banned in the U.S.
Wynn not ruling out jumping into iGaming industry, but attention is elsewhere now
For his part, Steve Wynn says that his company is open to entering the online gambling market, but that at this time, they are spending more energy on their Boston casino project. Wynn is in the running to win a license to build a Las Vegas-style casino resort in the Massachusetts city of Everett, just outside of Boston.
If approved, Wynn plans to build one of its signature bronze curtain glass towers on a polluted piece of land along the Mystic River. The company intends, if approved by state regulators, not only to build what they say will be the finest hotel in the Boston area, but also to clean up the land on which it would sit, a site that formerly was home to a Monsanto chemical plant.
Massachusetts is set to award three casino licenses in the early part of 2014; two for full-scale resort casinos and one for a slots-only gambling parlor.
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