Sheldon Adelson continued his war against online poker and gambling by posting on the Facebook page of his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling that the revenue projections of regulated states such as Delaware and New Jersey are falling short of expectations.
A post reading “Internet Gambling Floundering in the States” mentions that New Jersey revenue estimations are off by 80% and that Delaware “is not on track” to bag the $5 million anticipated. Adelson is correct in that the high end of anticipated revenue has not yet been met. New Jersey officials have since revised their projections down to $34 million.
However, as some replies to the Facebook post pointed out, $34 million is still a considerable sum. It is important to remember that both markets are only a few months old and that revenue totals may increase in the future once geolocation and credit card deposit issues are rectified. Another factor that may boost revenue totals is if other states eventually join in and form interstate agreements and regulated online poker becomes more widespread throughout the country.
The Facebook post comes at a time when the online gambling regulation issue is likely to heat up considerably with the expected formal introduction of the Internet Gambling Control Act of 2014 perhaps as early as today. That Adelson-backed legislation is set to be proposed by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz in both chambers of Congress.
With a goal of reversing the 2011 DoJ ruling that prompted states to begin passing statutes approving online poker and gambling, the proposals of Graham and Chaffetz are certain to be vigorously opposed by the American Gaming Association, Poker Players Alliance, and the organization formed in response to Adelson’s effort, the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection.
The anti-online gambling crowd got a boost recently when Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley sent letters to Congress in support of prohibiting online gambling. But that directive was met head-on by the Democratic Governors Association, who also made their pro-online gambling stance known by urging Congressional leaders to uphold the rights of states to enact Internet gambling legislation if they so choose.
“This Bill has a severe and disastrous impact on state governments and in light of these potential effects, the Bill is unworkable and it must be defeated,” the DGA insisted.
The DGA further points out that the wording of the bill is so broad that the Wire Act would be applied even to current lottery sales in 47 U.S. jurisdictions dependent on the Internet for the transmission of wagering, thereby wiping out nearly $20 billion in revenue that those 44 states and three U.S. territories currently enjoy.
The fireworks have only just begun in this issue in which pro and anti-online gambling causes are clearly at odds. With billions of dollars at stake, this battle may go the entire 12 rounds.