Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson followed up last week’s incoherent and hypocritical rants with the launch of an amateurish website called stopinternetgambling.com. The site is basically a rehash of Adelson’s misinformed and made up talking points. The site clearly states that it is “Paid for by Las Vegas Sands Corp” but there is very little content available save for a few questionable ‘studies’ and ‘polls.’ In an op-ed in Forbes Adelson cited “recent research from a number of European countries” that suggested that internet gambling has cut the number of casino visits. Problem is, there was no research and Adelson was citing anecdotal evidence from a conversation he’d had with European Casino Association chairman Ron Goudsmit.
Adelson called internet gambling a ‘plague’ but at the same time wants to make sure his employees at EuroVegas will breathe plenty of second hand smoke. Unfortunately Spain’s laws are designed to protect the health of citizens not Adelson’s profits. According to The Guardian Adelson visited Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy to discuss his plans for EuroVegas. The project is important to Spain’s troubled economy but citizens are encouraging the government not to acquiesce to Adelson’s unreasonable demands. There is a petition on Change.org that reads “We Spaniards do not want the tobacco law changed. We cannot allow a good law to be changed so that Mr. Adelson can earn more money while Spain becomes poorer.”
This is not the first time Adelson has strong armed the Spanish government. In 2012 Madrid Mayor Ignacio Gonzales slashed the gambling tax at brick and mortar casinos from 45% to 10% as a condition made by Adelson for locating EuroVegas in the region. Obviously Adelson has no concerns about the health of his employees. Now Adelson is pressuring the Spanish government to change its internet gambling laws. By now everyone in the gambling industry knows Adelson’s irrational position on internet gambling. Adelson has asked the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to change the country’s regulations for internet gambling.
The popularity of internet gambling in Spain has been a real irritant to Adelson. At the Sand’s annual meeting Adelson said that the “tax revenue from internet gaming is miniscule” and ‘hardly worth the paper it’s written on.” Unfortunately figures from the UK, Sweden and other European nations say otherwise. Adelson plans to put the pressure on and said he had instructed his lawyers to send his arrogant message to Spanish legislators that he is looking for “some more satisfaction on online gambling.” Adelson threatened to shut down the project if his demands were not met. Spain would probably be better off without Adelson and his grandiose project.