Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson Renews Anti Online Gambling Campign

adelsonThe gambling world’s leading black heart, Sheldon Adelson, is back it again, with a renewed effort in recent weeks in trying to stomp out any form of gambling entertainment that doesn’t put money into his own pocket.  Of late, Adelson has redoubled his attacks on US efforts to regulate online gambling, as it’s come to reality in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, as well as being up for consideration in several other states.

Adelson, who made plenty of mainstream headlines last year for fruitlessly pumping tens of millions of dollars into the failed Presidential campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney last year in an attempt to show that one man can still buy the US presidency, has of late returned to familiar grounds, that being debates about how the gambling business should proceed in the brave new era of online communications.

Adelson’s answer is to have none of it, and attempt to bar all others from having it as well.  In addition to having his Las Vegas Sands Corporation help start up an anti-gambling coalition called Stop Internet Gambling, he’s recently issued a couple of “adver”torials — with emphasis on “adversary” rather than “advertising” — in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.

As the Forbes piece notes, Adelson has declared that he’s “willing to spend whatever it takes” to stop the spread of online gaming, and Adelson is a very rich, very dirty old hypocrite who’s used to getting his own way, expenses be damned.  Therefore, one has to consider his threats as plausible, and evaluate them in the greater context of the national and global changes that are occurring.

Adelson, whose properties include the popular Las Vegas destination The Venetian, has also recently announced the formation of a bipartisan coalition in conjunction with his “Stop Internet Gambling” push.  The coalition’s three announced co-chairs are former New York Governor George Pataki (R), former Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln (D), and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb (D).  All three are currently lobbyists, instead of holding active office.

Among the curiosities coming forth from Adelson’s assorted mouthpieces is research suggesting that the cheap “Click a Mouse, Lose Your House” mantra spewed by anti-gambling forces has some traction; a small study done by the Tarrance Group on behalf of Adelson and Las Vegas Sands purports to show that Americans in four moderately pro-gambling states — California, Kentucky, Virginia, and Pennsylvania — slightly favor live gambling venues in general but are somewhat less enamored of online gambling operation, to the tune of a 15% or 20% shift in attitudes across the entire sampled populace.

That’s significant, and demonstrates the mindset in place in general against online gaming, though it should also be noted that only brief and pre-filtered snippets of the Tarrance Group’s work have surfaced.  Though the sample size is known, the exact methodology used remains unpublished.  Two different glimpses into the Tarrance study have emerged, one via a polling memo published on the stopinternetgambling.com website itself, and the other first published on Ralston Reports several days ago.

Of course, Adelson’s own hypocritical and venal stances undercut the legitimacy of his efforts, though his ability to purchase favorable opinions from the uniformed and indifferent is probably the biggest threat.  Adelson is unlikely to receive huge support from the pro-casino lobbying group American Gamimg Association, since other AGA members are online gambling proponents.

In contrast, Adelson’s brick-and-mortar empire is much more entrenched in locales such as Macau, which actually now dwarfs Las Vegas as a gambling mecca, and few people are fooled by Adelson’s claims that he’s fighting online gambling for the good of gamblers themselves.  After all, it was Adelson who threatened to back out of a giant casino project in Spain unless and exception to Spanish law was made that would allow smoking in the to-be-constructed Spanish casinos — as if all that ambient smoke was somehow good for gamblers as well.

A true laundry list of all of Sheldon Adelson’s sins would require its own piece… or series… but his ongoing war against poker players and online gamblers has to be acknowledged.  Numerous boycotts against Adelson and LVSands and its properties, including the Venetian, have had only minor effect to date.

The Venetian still holds the popular Deep Stack Extravaganza poker series about three times a year, but never fear: If poker players’ protests somehow worked en masses, Adelson would simply convert the Venetian’s large poker room into a high-stakes slots parlor and tell reporters it was for the gamblers’ own good.  (For the record, your FD reporter is among many hundreds of poker players who has stopped patronizing the Venetian or participating in DSE events.)

It’s sad to see a figure as synonymous as Sheldon Adelson is to gambling undertake a course of action so injurious to his customer base, but there’s no doubt the man’s whole life is based on personal profit.  Sheldon Adelson might be able to build fabulous gambling edifices, but he’s not the gambler’s friend.

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