Poker News

Just days after online poker got a new enemy, allies of the game have a new weapon to fight back. MGM International and what calls “other Washington powerhouses” launched the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (CCOP) Wednesday, a group stands in opposition to a ban on internet gambling.

Though Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have all legalized and regulated online gaming, gambling is coming under attack from some heavy hitters. The most belligerent and outspoken opponent is Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson who is committed to spending Scrooge McDuck-levels of bullion to keep internet gambling out of people’s homes. He was recently joined in his quest against competition by Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn. Just about everybody else of note in their industry wants online gambling legalized.

According to the CCOP’s website, the organization believes that by making online gambling explicitly illegal, Congress would prevent the installation of consumer protections for those who would then choose to patronize black market gaming sites, violate states’ rights, and restrict internet freedom. says that CCOP is starting out by unveiling a quarter-million dollar print and online ad campaign to fight an online gambling ban. The campaign will be focused on Washington, D.C. with some coverage in Nevada.

Just as Sheldon Adelson hired big names to lead his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, so has the CCOP. Two former Republican Congresspeople are on the board: Mike Oxley (Ohio), who was the chair of the House Financial Services Committee when the UIGEA was passed and who will be CCOP’s spokesman, and Mary Bono (California), who now works at FaegreBD Consulting.

The CCOP has also hired Dan Judy and Whit Ayres of North Star Opinion Research to conduct a poll on internet gambling. The poll, which was conducted at the end of January, found that 57 percent of the 1,000 respondents oppose “Congress banning all online gaming nationwide,” versus 37 percent who support it. 74 percent of those polled believed that each state should decide on internet gambling itself and only 22 percent believed that Congress should pass a nationwide ban on online gaming (not quite sure how that last part differs from the first question). The split on both of the last two questions was virtually the same no matter to what political party the voter belonged.

Also in the poll, 70 percent said that they supported people’s rights to gamble online even if they did choose to play themselves, “as long as the games are fair, provide regulations to protect children, and raise tax revenues for state and local projects.”

As one would expect from a poll funded by an organization with a clear agenda, the questions led voters in a certain direction, but nonetheless, the results were quite pro-online gambling.

As for why the CCOP was created, MGM Executive Vice President Alan Feldman told that with someone as resource-rich as Adelson shouting from the mountain top, it was time for internet gaming’s supporters to do the same. “He is using that (his wealth), and he is going to use that, and we have to argue the facts on our side. He’s not making a secret of his positions. We shouldn’t be secretive about ours.”

He added, “I think we have the best resource. We have the facts. He’s playing on people’s fears, he’s making all kinds of claims and making all kinds of accusations that simply aren’t true, so we’re going to stick to the facts and hope that the facts might win out.”

The Poker Players Alliance is supporting the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection and has already been tweeting about it and has posted links to the CCOP’s website on its Facebook page. “The concern is that a lot of money can buy you traction, and Adelson has a lot of money,” PPA Executive Director John Pappas told, “They are trying to deliver a message that misrepresents the issue, and for those of us who have been following this issue for a long time, we see through the blatant hypocrisy and misrepresentation. The average American may not be familiar with this issue at all and can be taken by some of the PR push that they are making.”

Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection links:

Online Gaming Poll:

One Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    America – land of the free. LMAO you’re controlled by the bosses.

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