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AGA President Expresses Support For Online Gaming

US gaming entrepreneur Sheldon Adelson made headlines earlier this week after the 79-year-old revealed plans to launch a campaign for a federal ban on online gaming in the US in 2014.

The owner of the Las Vegas Sands group has made his anti-online gaming views clear and he intends to show how children and other Americans could be adversely affected by what he sees as the perils of playing online.

Those plans, however, were always going to have their fair share of critics. It was only a matter of time before those critics stepped up to the plate and voiced a stance opposite that of Adelson. Well, the American Gaming Association (AGA) has come out as one of those critics, having outlined their opposition to any moves to ban online gaming in the US.

In a statement that did not directly mention Adelson or his campaign plans, AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman said regulated online gaming in the US will yield more benefits than disadvantages.

“Time and again, government efforts to prohibit use of everyday products have failed. In 2012, Americans spent nearly $3 billion gambling with rogue offshore operators. The Internet cannot be forced back into the bottle – nor can market demand.

“We support pragmatism and strong regulation of online gaming that protects consumers, prevents underage play, ensures the integrity of the games and empowers law enforcement.”

Freeman also expressed caution on a blanket ban on online gaming in the US as he believed it would lead to a variety of disadvantages for the country. “New government efforts to prohibit online gaming will unintentionally strengthen black market providers, create more risk for American consumers, including children, and drive U.S. jobs and potential revenues overseas.”

There is some irony in this situation as Adelson’s Las Vegas group is a member of the AGA. However, it is obvious that the online gaming views of Adelson and the AGA President transcend any general gaming bond that may exist through Adelson’s ownership of various bricks and mortar casinos.

Freeman’s comments are likely to be echoed by many of those in the poker and gaming industry as well as some members of the public. News of Adelson’s plans to launch a campaign is also quite fresh, which means other figures with views similar to Freeman’s are also likely to speak out in the coming days and weeks.

While major opposition to Adelson’s online gaming views and impending campaign is to be expected, the businessman’s wealth, political clout and almost obsessive views on online gaming will likely mean his campaign will go on regardless.

The main question is just how successful his campaign will be in swaying the US government and the US public.  

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