Venetian, Other Sands Properties Face Backlash After CEO Forbes Op/Ed
After a recent editorial on a major online website from the company’s CEO, the properties of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation are facing a backlash from the poker community.
On Wednesday, Sands’ Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson took to Forbes.com to present his opinions regarding online gaming in the United States. In the article entitled “Online Gambling Is Fool’s Gold,” Adelson enunciated his thoughts on the current efforts in the halls of the U. S. Congress for regulation of the industry and the overall efforts of many states to enact their own legislation. Through the entirety of the op/ed, Adelson is derisive of those efforts.
Calling the drive for regulation of the industry “a societal train wreck waiting to happen,” Adelson stated that online gaming would have no effect on his company overall. What it would affect, he stated, were the “(smaller) commercial casinos, Native American casinos and racetrack-casinos” in that they would not be able to draw people in if online gaming was enacted (either by the individual states or by the federal government). Furthermore, he blasted online gaming and poker as a “plague” on society.
“When gambling is available in every bedroom, every dorm room and every office space, there will be no way to fully determine that each wager has been placed in a rational and consensual manner,” Adelson wrote in the op/ed. He indicated that the potential for underage players to take part in online gaming (or those under the influence of drugs) couldn’t be monitored and, as such, would be a curse on society.
In his view, Adelson believes the only way to combat these problems is through an outright ban on the activity. “I strongly urge Congress to either rewrite the Federal Wire Act or pass new legislation making internet gaming illegal nationwide,” he wrote. “I encourage greater enforcement of the laws currently prohibiting off-shore internet gaming companies from engaging in transactions with U. S. citizens.”
“(Online gaming) is a threat to our society,” Adelson finished, “a toxin which all good people ought to resist.”
Since the publication of that editorial, the outrage from the poker community has been sounded on many forums. At PocketFives, every comment has been against Adelson’s remarks. “Mr. Adelson, if you’re so concerned about how poker players spend their money, close down your casinos and maybe I’ll listen to what you have to say,” poster “DeaconMike” commented. “Typical 1%er wants to corner the market and keep out all competition,” stated “NINYIM.” “He’s petrified that people will burn all their gambling money on the internet and then won’t show up to his casinos…this is supposedly a free nation, we should have the right to choose!”
Other commenters in the PocketFives thread point out the seriousness of Adelson’s stance. A billionaire, Adelson is rumored to have donated an estimated $100 million to different political campaigns in the 2012 election, including those of Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich and eventual GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, in an attempt to influence the election. With such financial power, many believe that Adelson can eventually “buy” enough seats in Washington, D. C. to drive his beliefs into action.
On the Venetian’s Facebook page, the opinions are being sounded just as loudly. A spot normally used to promote different non-gaming options at the Las Vegas casino, it has been deluged with statements by people who have said they will not be taking part in any activity there. “I haven’t stayed at any of his properties…I have played at them, however,” one poster commented. “I will now never stay or spend money at properties related to him (Adelson).”
Another commenter stated, “You support games of chance in your casinos, but not a game of skill to be played online. You want to block millions of Americans from being able to play poker online…no, thanks.” Under a post promoting a musical’s debut at the Venetian, another poster says, “Won’t be seeing this ever because of Sheldon Adelson’s wish to ban online poker.”
Efforts by Poker News Daily to contact the Venetian’s public relations department for a statement have gone unanswered as of today, but it is obvious to see that the impact of Adelson’s statements in his editorial are having a negative impact on the centerpiece of his Vegas empire.
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