Las Vegas Sands boss Sheldon Adelson has followed up last week’s Howard Beale-worthy rants against online gambling with a new website, StopInternetGambling.com. The site is largely a rehash of the misinformed talking points Adelson delivered in his Forbes’ op-ed and his phone-in appearance on Bloomberg TV. Yet despite the fact that the site proudly proclaims it’s ‘Paid for by Las Vegas Sands Corp,’ there’s little evidence of Adelson’s billions on display. In fact, beyond the slickly produced video (copied below), the site resembles a campaign to stop a local bowling alley from being torn down and replaced with a Wal-Mart.
Unlike his previous rants, this time Adelson has decided to back up his statistical claims with actual documentation. The site contains a poll conducted earlier this month by the Tarrance Group with residents of Pennsylvania – home of market-leading Sands Bethlehem – that show online gambling has the highest ‘negative’ ranking of any form of gambling. Even a majority of ‘frequent or regular gamblers’ claim to be against Pennsylvania’s most recent effort to legislate online gambling. There’s also a link to a similar poll in California, where Sands doesn’t have a casino, which must account for the fact that the link doesn’t work.
More subjective material in the Pennsylvania survey includes a screenshot of Marvelonlineslots.net, featuring Thor, the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, as well as a shot of MandarinPalace.com’s Santa’s Surprize, Cash Puppy and Mermaid Serenade slots. This is all evidence, Sands insists, of how “foreign” online gambling sites lure in impressionable youth. “Such predatory games are another example of how Internet Gambling can be dangerous in your home.” Frankly, we’re surprised the site hasn’t been updated to include Coral’s Hulk ad that accidentally aired during Saturday morning cartoons, but check back tomorrow.
IT’S OUR NATURE
Clearly, as much as the US online poker community would prefer Adelson go back to doing what he does best – like ensuring that his Spanish casino employees will breathe plenty of second-hand smoke – it appears Adelson isn’t going to abandon his crusade against online gambling. Just as he financially backed Newt Gingrich’s primary campaign long after it became obvious that Mitt Romney was a lock, Adelson isn’t going to stop sinking however many real fangs he has left into further attempts to pass online gambling legislation – whether at the federal or state level. (The new site includes links to both Rep. Peter King’s federal bill and Pennsylvania’s intrastate HB 1235.)
Some industry observers, such as Online Poker Report’s Chris Grove, have suggested people refrain from rebutting Adelson’s commentaries because he’s essentially trolling the online gambling community into lashing out and thus exposing its seamy underbelly to the world. Then there’s Poker Players Alliance VP Rich Muny, who posted a request for members of the 2+2 forums to do “a good Photoshopping” on Adelson. When some forum members suggested it was somewhat unbecoming for a top industry lobbyist to be asking people to draw penises on Sheldon’s face à la Perez Hilton, a defensive Muny said he expected “some highbrow memes to comes from this” (before deleting the entire thread).
Long time readers of this site will know that CalvinAyre.com can be counted on for at least two things: the inability to shut our pieholes and an infantile appreciation for the wonders of digital photo editing. We kept the rhetoric to a minimum this time, but we just couldn’t resist seeing Sheldon mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. FYI, Network won four Oscars: is that highbrow enough for you, Rich?