Sheldon Adelson’s Minions: CSIG Releases Anti-Online Gambling Web Spot
More news from the Sheldon Adelson camp’s ongoing attacks on online poker and online gambling, this in the form of a new 80-second spot designed for the web, and possibly even to be dropped into TV markets such as Pennsylvania, where the Adelson-funded Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) seeks to get legislation introduced that would criminalize online gaming… and in the process drive more gamblers to Adelson’s land-based casinos.
While few people are genuinely fooled by Adelson’s chutzpah and hypocrisy, the depth of his pockets makes CSIG at least a nominal threat to poker players, and we’ve been monitoring this astroturf lobbying group’s activities since its debut. This latest spot can be viewed at both CSIG’s official StopInternetGambling.com site and via the group’s account at YouTube.
Let’s just say it’s a doozy, full of scare tactics and self-inflated lies.
The spot starts out with this statement, augmented with splashes of bold-face print, slashing across the screen: “Right now, disreputable gaming interests are lobbying hard to spread internet gambling throughout the country… targeting families, kids, the elderly….”
Adelson’s CSIG group doesn’t name those “gaming interests,” but the blind reference seems to be squarely pointed at the American Gaming Association and the majority of its members, which include all those “disreputable” firms such as Caesars Entertainment.
Given that Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Entertainment is a current member of the AGA, our previous conjecture that this issue could lead to LV Sands’ departure from the lobbying group now seems ever more likely to happen. In a recent feature by Jon Ralston for Politico (“Sheldon Adelson’s Internet Jihad“), Ralston quoted Adelson as hinting that such a split was possible.
Wrote Ralston, “When Adelson hears a top staffer at a group he helps fund essentially calling him foolish, he says, without raising his voice, ‘Well, I’m considering withdrawing from the organization … You must understand, I don’t want our dues going to hurt our society.'”
CSIG also announced this week the signing of 39 activist groups in support of their online-gambling banning efforts. The 39 groups are almost exclusively religious entities from the far conservative American right, most of which have long records as being against all forms of gambling, which show the depths to which Adelson is willing to stoop in his seeking of a Pyrrhic victory over all those other disreputable gaming interests, meaning his casino-industry competitors.
Just so there’s no doubt about where CSIG is cultivating its membership, the list:
- American Principles Project
- Catholic Advocate
- Center for Civic Virtue
- Common Sense Virginia
- Concerned Women for America
- Corporate Whistleblower Center
- Denver Institute of Urban Studies
- Faith and Freedom Coalition of Virginia
- Faith and Freedom Coalition of California
- Faith and Freedom Coalition of Delaware
- Faith and Freedom Coalition of Florida
- Faith and Freedom Coalition of Michigan
- Faith and Freedom Coalition of Ohio
- Faith and Freedom Coalition of Oklahoma
- Faith and Freedom Coalition of Oregon
- Faith and Freedom Coalition of South Carolina
- Faith and Freedom Coalition of Texas
- Faith and Freedom Coalition of Wisconsin
- Friendship Baptist Church of Christ Jesus
- Frontiers of Freedom
- Indiana American Family Association
- Let Freedom Ring
- Liberty Counsel
- Lighthouse Missionary Baptist
- Louisiana Family Forum
- Loving Saints Christian Fellowship
- Massachusetts Family Institute
- Minnesota Family Council
- Missouri Family Policy Council
- Network of Politically Active Christians
- Pennsylvania Catholics Network
- Pennsylvania Pastors Network
- Rose of Sharon Tabernacle
- The City of Refuge Restoration Church
- The Greater Denver Ministerial Alliance
- The Latino Coalition
- Tradition Family Property
- Transforming Florida
- Universal Baptist Church
The odd omission from the group is Focus on the Family, the rabid anti-gambling group which has already been demonstrably working with CSIG, and has had a hand in promoting the nonsensical money-laundering claims of James Thackston, whose documents are being prominently promoted by CSIG.
Speaking of Thackston’s lunacies, which we’ve debunked at length here at FlushDraw in the past couple of weeks, they’re a prominent part of this latest anti-gambling spot. Following the walls of scare text, the ad then moves on to a small series of supposedly official documents purporting to show that all of Thackston’s nutso claims have not only been proven, but are supposedly already governmental policy.
This is bizarre lying in the extreme.
The ad flashes one letter with an FBI logo that was a sympathetic reply to a US Congressman writing about possible money laundering, though if one reads that letter, no examples of such have ever existed. And all the other supposed official documents in the CSIG spot are the work of Thackston and his anti-gambling friends, including one which was picked off a free press-release wire and dumped into the back pages of a Tampa Bay newspaper. (Slow news day filler, in case you were wondering.)
It’s even funnier in that CSIG is now promoting Thackston’s unsubstantiated claims as truth. Readers familiar with the topic haven’t forgotton Thackston’s howler about an Al-Qaida poker network somehow being used to fund multiple 9/11-style networks — as if such a network existed or could somehow be used in such a manner.
That this is utterly ridiculous doesn’t stop CSIG and Thackston, and in this latest spot, they’ve even gone so far as to highlight the claim:
This is extreme in the bizarre. Not only is there zero evidence supporting such a thing, it’s highly unlikely that such a network would ever be created or be successful. It is just not viable.
Such ridiculous examples do show a greater truth, however: The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling would much rather lie to the American public than be honest with the facts. That’s unlikely to change any time soon.
We’ll be watching.