Casino giant MGM Resorts International is one of the primary backers of the newly launched Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (C4COP) – a group aimed at firing back at the vehement anti-online lobbying push from the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG), funded by Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson. The group has garnered support from the likes of the American Gaming Association (AGA), and grew out of a need for a united and well-funded effort to fight for Internet gaming rights.
Specifically, C4COP was organized to fight Adelson’s multimillion dollar lobbying operation. His recent efforts to organize – and heavily lobby – Congress have received much press in recent months, spurred on by his CSIG website, as well as outreach to members of Congress and state Attorneys General. Adelson seeks to have the 1961 Wire Act once again reinterpreted to officially ban all online gambling in the United States, and C4COP was born of the need to battle back.
C4COP Takes a Stand
According to the recently launched C4COP website, the organization stands for the protection of “American families, consumers, businesses and states from those who are pushing for an extreme congressional overreach that would ban all Internet gaming.”
The group also said it speaks on behalf of “public safety leaders, parents, business leaders, teachers, technology leaders, state and federal elected officials, the gaming industry, and other concerned groups in opposition to a ban on all Internet gaming.”
Its efforts were strong upon its launch, starting with a three-week online print and ad campaign costing approximately $250,000, and aimed at the Washington, D.C. market, though Nevada is also a part of the outreach.
Supporters of the movement include major funder MGM, as well as the AGA, Poker Players Alliance (PPA), and powerful political figures, such as former Ohio Rep. Mike Oxley, former California Rep. Mary Bono, and Democratic kingpin and former Obama White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina.
Fighting for Online Gaming Rights
The primary focus of C4COP is to oppose a federal Internet gaming ban. While most organizations may not succeed by being specifically and solely against something, C4COP does partner its opposition to Adelson with an implied support of legalized and regulated online gambling.
The group claims that banning Internet gaming will have many negative effects, such as blocking consumer protections that could come from regulatory bodies overseeing the industry, removing much-needed revenue from states like New Jersey that are already benefiting from the online gaming industry, and the restriction of Internet freedom. The last point is expressed in a broad position: “Congress shouldn’t try to legislate away the Internet, and can’t simply ban online technologies the public has [already] widely embraced.”
C4COP first emerged after Adelson ramped up his efforts and dumped a few more million dollars into his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. Besides his website, his most recent move was a letter signed by several state Attorneys General to others around the country asking for support to revamp the Wire Act and outlaw Internet gambling at the federal level. The letter required more than 30 signatures and only received 16, but there was enough support to show that Adelson may be gaining ground in his campaign.
Many pro-online gambling groups have embraced the C4COP efforts. The goal may be to push Adelson back, but those who want full legalization of the industry can use this campaign to push forward as well towards making that a legislative reality.