Sheldon Adelson Vows to Protect Kids from Online Poker, Sands Bethlehem Pays Underage Gambling Fines
Recent days have brought the poker world another example of the corrupt hypocrisy of billionaire Sheldon Adelson, whose Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) has issued a pathetic online ad falsely claiming that online-poker sites are targeting even children, even as his own Sands Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) Casino just paid $48,000 in fines for allowing four separate instances of underage gambling to occur on the casino floor.
Each of those underage gambling instances took place in the second half of 2011, and in an ironic twist on “doubling down” (a theme you’ll see return later in this post), the $48,000 fine matches another $48,000 fine that Sands Bethlehem paid for allowing six other underage gambling incidents during the 2010 calendar year.
Yet instead of fixing their own security and checking customer IDs, the Adelson-CEO’d Las Vegas Sands Corporation says its the online world of gambling that can’t be trusted to keep kids off of the new highly regulated US sites. LV Sands, at Adelson’s bidding, serves as the official money channel for this latest mind-numbing CSIG nastiness. In its latest, CSIG trots out the paid child actors and writes a nonsense script full of blatant inaccuracies for them to follow.
It’s full of eye-opening revelations, too… if you’re of a mind to believe that popular social games such as Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds are really just gateway drugs to hardcore online gambling.
Some samples from the propaganda spot’s dialogue:
”With WiFi, I figured out how to get on gambling sites with my dad’s login. He doesn’t know that I know it.”
— Sounds like bad parenting to me… as if the premise was sound anyway. As this prime evisceration at NewJerseyOnlinePoker.net explains, the naughty little underage gambler also finds his dad’s electronic devices preferable for playing the same popular social-network games (Angry Birds, Candy Crush) that could easily be played on the kid’s own device:
“But he saved it [“dad’s login,” as in the following image] in his contacts on his phone. I was playing Angry Birds and then, you know, I just found it.”
From there, it’s on to the gambling activity that the kid doesn’t do well, but figures it’s okay to blow dad’s money on.
Blackjack: “I especially like blackjack…I still double down too much, but it’s so much fun!”
Roulette: “Roulette is cool too. You just have to pick colors and some numbers.”
And, of course, poker, along with an interesting, planted dig by Adelson’s paid minions that the game itself might be rigged: “Poker is the best. I’ve already played a bunch with my friends. It’s hard, though. Every time I think I have it, like, somebody comes along and steals the pot.”
That last is exactly what one would expect from Adelson. Any game which doesn’t have players playing losing odds against the house must be a crooked game, right?
The coup de grace? A ridiculous statement by the child actor that he didn’t think the lost money would count, since he was under 18. That’s an intentional double-lie: The loss can and would be enforced, as it would be the father’s irresponsibility in allowing his son unfettered access to the card. But of course Adelson and CSIG already know this, and so it’s just another bit of pandering and fear-mongering aimed at the unknowledgable.
If the politics of US online-poker needed its version of the John Kerry Swift Boat ad, then this is it. “Swiftboating” has become the favored term to describe such topical political smears, and Adelson and CSIG now stand as worthy additions to that infamous list.
It would be entertaining if it weren’t so ludicrous, so patently false.
The ridiculous CSIG propoganda immediately drew widespread negative responses, both from the poker and mainstream news worlds. The spot’s blatant, obvious flaws were obvious to all. Here’s what Poker Players Alliance VP of Public Relations Rich Muny said:
“This is outrageous. Adelson continues to exploit fear of underage play when sites have many built-in protections. If this were not mitigated by these steps, this ad, bought and paid for by Venetian and its CEO Sheldon Adelson, would have ended with citation of actual cases of underage play.” Added Muny, “They cannot do that because the number of such cases from the licenses US market equals precisely ZERO!”
Muny and the PPA occasionally miss the mark themselves, but he’s right in this instance. Sheldon Adelson and his CSIG group continue to outdo themselves in shameless pandering. It’s going to be interesting to see what they produce next.