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Las Vegas Sands Owner Blasts Online Gaming

The owner of the largest gaming company in the world has torn into online gaming and has called for American states to disallow any moves to legalise and regulate it.

Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson made the comments in a special piece he wrote for Forbes yesterday. In the piece, the 79-year-old businessman described online gaming as being “fool’s gold” and said it allowed players to “lose their house” from the click of a mouse.

Mr Adelson also called for the US Government to take a firmer stand on online gaming and to use its powers to override moves by states such as Nevada and New Jersey to regulate it in their states.

“I strongly urge Congress to either rewrite the Federal Wire Act, or pass new legislation making internet gaming illegal nationwide,” he wrote in his piece. “Whether it is full casino gaming, poker only, or anything in between -this is a societal train wreck waiting to happen.”

The Las Vegas Sands brand owns a number of casinos and hotels in a number of global gaming hotspots. Among the most famous of these is the Venetian resort, hotel and casino in Las Vegas, which is perhaps most notable in the poker world as being the host of the Deep Stack Extravaganza Series.

Las Vegas Sands also owns the Palazzo resort, hotel and casino in Las Vegas as well as three hotels and casinos in Macau. It also owns the Marina Bay Sands resort, hotel and casino in Singapore, which is billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property.

The gaming aspects of Mr Adelson’s business are geared fully towards to live money game. Due to this, one could get the impression that his views could be a cover for what he sees as being the growth of an industry that may threaten his business’ profits.

These potential sentiments are some that Mr Adelson is fully aware of and also addresses in his piece. He dismissed the sentiments, believing that a fully established gaming sector would not be able to threaten a company as big as Las Vegas Sands.

“Our popular brands – like The Venetian – we would be very effective competitors in this market place,” Mr Adelson wrote. “Having started more than 50 different successful businesses over the course of my nearly seven decades- long business career, I’m not afraid of competing with anyone.

“Our company makes twice as much money from our non-gaming attractions in the United States than we do from our casino operations. Finally, almost all our casino profits come from Asia, where online gambling doesn’t exist and won’t be legalized soon, if ever.”

Mr Adelson did acknowledge, however, that an established online gaming industry in the US could be a major threat to other live gaming businesses, such as Native American owned casinos and other commercial casinos. He also wrote that the establishment of online gaming in some European countries “resulted in a 20 percent decrease in visitation to the land-based casinos in those countries”.

The billionaire also stated his views that online gaming could result in increased numbers of minors taking up games such as real money poker, which could lead to increased gaming addictions in that demographic.

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