Sheldon Adelson’s long dormant anti-online gambling group has shown signs of life just days after Congress announced it was holding a hearing into online gambling.
On Monday, The Hill reported that the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSG) had hired The Keelen Group to promote its anti-online agenda on Capitol Hill. The hiring marks the first time the CSIG has been heard from in many months, spoiling the hopes of those who believed it had gone the way of the dodo.
The CSIG hired high-profile lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs last summer, back when Las Vegas Sands boss Adelson still had hope that his Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) might gain some traction in Washington.
But while RAWA is effectively DOA, last week’s announcement of a potentially pro-online gambling hearing by a House of Representatives subcommittee appears to have prompted Adelson to raise CSIG’s allowance. They may not be able to ban online gambling, but they may be able to delay its legalization a while longer.
On the other side of the lobbying coin, Canada’s Amaya Gaming has hired CSA Strategies to promote the merits of online gambling to Congressional types. Leading CSA’s charge on behalf of Amaya’s PokerStars brand is Alejandro Urrea, former counsel to the House Financial Services Committee.
AGA SINGS HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO KILLING COMPETITION
Meanwhile, the American Gaming Association (AGA) announced it will hold its own shindig on Capitol Hill this Wednesday. The event, a co-production with Sport Integrity Monitor, will get underway at the ungodly hour of 8:30am, meaning the only politicians attending “The World of Sports Betting and Safeguarding Sports Integrity” will likely be the ones still up from the night before.
The AGA is also planning a “major law enforcement summit” in Washington this June to brainstorm on new ways to reduce competition facing the US land-based casino industry.
Finally, to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its ‘Stop Illegal Gambling’ initiative, which was mainly aimed at stopping online gambling offered by non-AGA members, the AGA announced the launch of a new website, Stopillegalgambling.org.
The ‘Stop Quarterly Profit Shrinkage’ initiative originally put four types of illegal gambling in its sights but the new website adds a fifth: illegal animal betting. Apparently, the AGA was having trouble generating significant levels of outrage merely by railing against gambling sites that consumers actually want to visit, so the AGA borrowed some cute dog pics from Icanhas.cheezburger.com.
But the mere suggestion that dogs and roosters might be treated cruelly isn’t enough for the AGA’s copywriters. So we’re told that the organizers of such animal fights “trade narcotics, weapons and conduct other violent crimes” while “often times children are also put at risk and exposed to these horrific and cruel events.” Which is totally different from all those media reports about kids left unattended in parked cars while their parents spend 24 uninterrupted hours parked at AGA members’ slots and gaming tables.
Surprisingly, the AGA’s new website makes no mention about stopping the illegal bribery of foreign officials, like the kind that AGA member Las Vegas Sands was under investigation for until the company paid $9m to stop the US Securities and Exchange Commission from shining its flashlight up Adelson’s backside. Saving that for the initiative’s second anniversary, no doubt.