Since Las Vegas Sands Corporation Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson opined on his belief that online poker in the United States should be banned – and the further action of forming an online website to advocate for that stance – there has been a great deal of discussion of a formal boycott of the Las Vegas Sands properties. In Las Vegas, that would mean a boycott of the Venetian, arguably one of the nicer places to play poker in Sin City. There is now action on that boycott, being driven by one of the poker community’s leading writers.
Author Nolan Dalla, who penned the outstanding biography One Of A Kind about legendary poker champion Stu Ungar, has called for such a boycott, to last from July 22 through the 26th, against the Venetian on his personal blog. “The campaign to send a message to Sheldon Adelson continues to gain steam,” Dalla writes. “The boycott has been written about…we’ve received positive coverage in the Las Vegas Sun and even The Hill, which covers Washington politics, has referenced the boycott. The more poker players who join this boycott, the more clear the message will be sent to Sheldon Adelson that we will not stand by passively while he trashes our game and denies us our rights.”
To potentially sway some players who might be on the fence about boycotting the Venetian, Dalla has prepared a “Frequently Asked Questions” post to assist players. When asked about the reasons for the boycott, Dalla states, “We must send a loud and clear message to Sheldon Adelson that poker players will not allow an out-of-touch multi-billionaire with unlimited financial resources to control and potentially stifle the national debate about the legalization of online poker. (It is) insulting to all those who love to play the game.”
Dalla cites many of the opinions that Adelson opined on in his infamous Forbes.com op/ed from last month, including Adelson’s belief that “online gambling is a threat to our society – a toxin which all good people ought to resist,” among others. “It would take no more than a few minutes to destroy each of (Adelson’s statements) with facts,” Dalla writes. “Unfortunately, his ongoing pattern of spreading misleading information only seems to be getting worse.”
In picking the dates for the boycott, Dalla says that he wanted to give enough time for a strong enough boycott to pick up steam. In addition to that, Dalla cites his work (he is the media director for the World Series of Poker) and believes the dates would not conflict with any endeavor that he was associated with. “I did not want the boycott period to be in conflict with any events with which I am connected, such as the WSOP,” Dalla says in his blog. “I want to make it clear there are no conflicts of interest,” in organizing the boycott.
The drive to organize a boycott of the Las Vegas Sands properties and, in particular, the Venetian has been fervent for the past two years. With online poker legislation in Congress during its last session in 2011 and 2012, Adelson voiced strong opposition to its passage then and raised the ire of the poker community. While the drive then didn’t gain any traction, it does seem that this time around there might be some validity to the Venetian boycott drive.
Following Adelson’s op/ed at Forbes.com at the end of June, Poker News Daily tried to contact the public relations department of the Venetian for a statement. To this date, there has been no reply from the Venetian regarding Adelson’s comments nor have any other media outlets been able to get comments from the PR staff of the casino.
As the date of the proposed boycott draws closer, Dalla has been pleasantly surprised at the response his efforts have drawn. “The reaction to what I’ve posted has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and positive,” Dalla said to VegasInc.com. “People have come up to me to say, “I’ve been looking for a channel for my frustration and this is it.” Whether the boycott is successful will be hard to determine, but the voices of the poker community will be heard in some way by the Venetian and the Las Vegas Sands Corporation if there is a drastic decline.