Just about everyone in the gambling and political worlds knows who Sheldon Adelson is. Adelson is known for backing far right political candidates and losers and his hypocritical opposition to internet gambling. Last week Adelson published an op-ed in Forbes magazine explaining his opposition to internet gambling. Adelson claims internet gambling is ‘immoral’ but somehow gambling becomes ‘moral’ if it takes place in one of his many casinos. In the article Adelson, Chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. warns “Click your mouse and lose your house,’ a phrase that has been used by dozens of online gambling opponents.
His views and hypocrisy did not endear him to thousands of poker players and now there is talk of organizing a boycott of Adelson’s casinos. The players hope to organize a boycott of the poker room (59 tables, 14,000-sq. ft.) at the Venetian casino and resort owned by Adelson. In a laughable statement in his op-ed Adelson said “As an industry leader, and more importantly as a father, grandfather, citizen and patriot of this great country. I am adamantly opposed to the legalization and proliferation of online gaming.”
Adelson waves a warning finger at pending legislation in Pennsylvania and California that will legalize internet gambling in both states. So far three states have already legalized the practice. Adelson wrote “You would think [that] the chairman of the world’s largest gaming company would pursue any aspect of gaming which could increase profits, right? Ordinarily that is true—but online gambling is ‘fool’s gold.” Adelson is afraid that the profits of internet gambling will be at the expense of his brick and mortar casinos. Alluding to “recent research from a number of European countries” he claims that countries that have legalized internet gambling have seen a 20% decrease in player numbers at casinos. Trouble is the ‘research’ he cited doesn’t exist!
Gaming experts Martin D. Owens, a California attorney specializing in the law of Internet and interactive gaming, and Professor Nelson Rose of Whittier Law School say that Adelson’s worries are preposterous. Rose stated “Mr. Adelson is staging a very belated and unimaginative rear-guard action.” Adelson’s concerns about problem gambling are made moot by an ongoing study at Harvard Medical School. The study collected data on 40,000 individuals and reached the following conclusion; “The overwhelming majority of online gamers play in a very moderate manner, spending minimal amounts on gaming.”
Currently many poker players say they will never patronize any casino owned by Adelson. There has been talk on poker forums and chat rooms about organizing a boycott of Adelson’s properties.