Gaming and casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson has made his less than favourable feelings about online gaming very public and very clear – he does not like its existence.
Now the 79-year-old billionaire has outlined aims to take his anti-online gaming views one step further by preparing to launch a public campaign to raise awareness of what he sees as the perils of online gaming.
Adelson made headlines back in June when he wrote a piece in Forbes magazine blasting online gaming, describe it as being “fool’s gold” and said it allowed players to “lose their house” from the click of a mouse. In the same piece he also called for the US government to ban online gaming nationwide as he believed it was “a societal train wreck waiting to happen.”
Those comments were met with harsh criticism by many in the poker and gaming communities, a number of whom saw the comments as narrow-minded and inaccurate. However, that does not appear to have stopped Adelson and his quest to see a US-wide ban on online poker and gaming in general.
The owner of the Las Vegas Sands aims to put forward a campaign that shows online gaming as being a “danger to children, the poor and others who could be exploited by easy access to Internet betting.” Adelson is taking his anti-online gaming campaign so seriously that he has hired lobbyists and public relations experts to help make it as effective as possible.
Currently, there are three states in the US – Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey – that regulate online gaming. There is also the potential for more states to join the mix should the markets in those three states be successful and sustainable.
That may be a key reason why Adelson has chosen to create a campaign to encourage a nationwide ban on online gaming – to try and sway opinions on it while regulation is still in its relative infancy.
Adelson’s proposed campaign is something that proponents of online gaming should not take lightly. Along with his immense wealth, Adelson also holds some influence over sections of US politics and is a donor to numerous Republican Party causes.
Those two attributes will be an asset in Adelson’s push to seek a ban on online gaming, but he will also face his fair share of opposition once the campaign kicks off. Among that opposition will, of course, be much of the poker community.
Some members of the poker community have already voiced their opposition to news of a campaign. Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas was quoted by the Washington Post as saying he believes many Americans are for online gaming, which will lead to a win for the pro-online gaming side.
Whatever, if anything, happens as a result of the impending campaign, it appears that online gaming will be widely debated in the US in 2014.