Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is apparently on the warpath with his sights set squarely on the internet gambling industry. According to an article in the Washington Post run this past weekend, Adelson is about to initiate a widespread public campaign to defame internet gambling to turn the opinions of public officials and voters against any coming legislation. Adelson is the 80-year-old billionaire chief of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
Gambling Boss Against Gambling
From the “pot calling the kettle black” files, it’s been reported that the first step in Adelson’s crusade to stop internet gambling is the launch of the new and aptly-named group, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. It has been stated that some child advocacy groups are a part of this coalition, but no comment has been made about their awareness that their anti-gambling coalition is actually funded by a gambling corporation. The coalition has a basic message that online gambling, and not land-based casino gambling, is dangerous to society and children, as well as the elderly and other incompetent groups in society.
Three Blind Mice
As if on queue, three out-of-work politicians have joined the coalition. Former New York governor George Pataki (R), former U.S. Senator from Arkansas Blanche Lincoln (D), and former Denver mayor Wellington Webb (D) have been hired as co-chairs for the organization. Adelson and his wife are well known to the American public for their massive political contributions, estimated at being in excess of $100 million to support Republican candidates during the 2012 elections. Webb, a Democrat, told the Washington Post that he doesn’t believe these issues are about him and his political party, and that Adelson is on the right side of this particular issue.
Laughable Evidence of Support
Back in October, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation commissioned a study which polled 2,200 “likely” voters in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California about their feelings regarding the legalization of online poker. The widely criticized survey, which many felt was skewed and biased to a gross degree, stated that people enjoy land-based gambling but were against online gambling. It should be noted that according to the US Census Bureau, the population of California (one of the four states participating in the “poll” above) is approximately 38 million. That means if the poll was exclusively conducted in California, the 2,200 people in the poll represent approximately 0.005% of the Californian population.
Poker Players Alliance Response
“We don’t make a habit of picking fights with billionaires,” stated John Pappas, the Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) to the Washington Post. “But in this case, I think we’ll win, because millions of Americans who want to play online will oppose this legislation, along with dozens and dozens of states that want the freedom to authorize any kind of gaming they see fit.”
While it’s not totally known what the next move will be, it’s widely expected that a national campaign will run on traditional mediums, such as print, radio, and television. These messages should start appearing in states where legislation is being considered to legalize internet gambling. Eventually, it will be up to the voters to decide whether people should have the freedom to play poker or gambling games from their homes.