Sheldon Adelson has stepped his foot on the gas in his attempts to lobby at both the state and federal levels to prevent the expansion of online gambling in America, by creating The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG).
At 80-years of age you would think that Sheldon Adelson would be looking for a quiet end to what must qualify as a pretty decent life. After all, that’s exactly what my Grandfather did when he reached 80-years of age.
He was too fragile to venture outside and instead he would remain indoors where he would spend the remainder of his days doing the three things he loved the most: watching television, enjoying visits from his family and betting on the horses and greyhounds via his mobile phone.
Sheldon Adelson doesn’t want the quiet life. This is an old dog that still has a taste for the biggest bones in the yard and he is currently trying to chew the life out of the one named online gambling.
If Adelson is successful in his attempt to convince the lawmakers he pays to remain in positions of power, that online gambling is evil, then the sweeping changes will not only stop the young and vulnerable from becoming gambling addicts, but it will put hundreds of thousands out of jobs and stop people like my Grandfather placing a 50p bet on the horses.
This is exactly the reason that prohibition doesn’t work. Forget the so called black market that people are saying will emerge should Adelson win, it’s the fact that we aren’t allowed to form our own opinion that grates the most; and in the land of the free and home of the brave no less.
It’s no secret that Adelson has a hard-on for the fight against online gambling. His summer performance on Bloomberg TV where he called online poker a ‘train wreck’ and ‘cancer waiting to happen’ gave us a subtle hint that he wasn’t playing 100nl at Ultimate Poker; but he has never revealed his hand before. This is not a man with a gripe. This is outright war.
“We don’t make a habit of picking fights with billionaires, but I think we’ll win this one because millions of Americans who want to play online will oppose this legislation, along with dozens and dozens of states that want the freedom to authorize any kind of gaming they seem fit.” Said John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) in that Washington Post piece.
The CSIG is going to be used as the battering ram that will front a very expensive campaign to prove to the lawmakers than online gaming is a danger to children, the poor and anyone else who is vulnerable and can be exploited by access to mobile and Internet gambling.
It’s quite ironic that Adelson plans to use the billions he has earned by exploiting those very people he now serves to protect in order to front this campaign; and the timing is ripe with New Jersey set to open their virtual doors on the 21st Nov for five days of soft gaming, before the real business begins on the 26th.
“In my 15 years of working with him, I don’t think I have ever seen him this passionate about any issue,” said Andy Abboud, Adelson’s top political adviser.
This type of passion has lit a fire underneath the arses of the online poker community as talk starts to gather momentum. The poker playing community has numbers, but do they have the organizational skills to take on Adelson and his team taken from the smartest minds at Patton Boggs and Husch Blackwell? After all the Venetian card room remains as popular as ever.
In order to build up a head of steam Adelson and the CSIG will focus their powers on the children, a strategy which was made crystal clear when Abboud pointed out a reference used in the tobacco industry wars by citing, ‘This could our ‘Joe Camel’ moment.’
Interesting, that Abboud should use a tobacco reference, with Adelson threatening to shutdown his plans to build his Euro Vegas project over the Spanish government’s insistence that smoking should be banned inside any casino complex.
So it’s ok to kill people through smoke, but they are not allowed to go broke?