Sheldon Adelson Comes Out Against Online Gambling

Sheldon Adelson, the Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world’s largest gambling group, has come out in a blatant attack against online gambling in a recent article.  Adelson has called online gambling “fool’s gold” and a “societal wreck waiting to happen”.

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The gambling tycoon urges the federal government to rewrite the Federal Wire Act or pass immediate legislation making online gambling illegal. He stressed that Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada have already passed their own online gambling laws, and “right now, several state legislatures, including the populous states of California and Pennsylvania, are considering proposals to allow the legalization of online gaming.”

Adelson dismisses the notion that he is so anti-online gambling because he is afraid that it will impact his terrestrial gambling businesses.  He claims in the Forbes article that he is more concerned with how online gambling would affect tribal casinos, for example. “The impact on my company’s business would be limited, the hit on other commercial casinos, Native American casinos, and racetrack-casinos across the land could be substantial and even lead to their eventual demise.”

Sheldon Adelson quotes numbers from European research which shows, he claims, how revenues at land casinos dropped 20% since the legalization and regulation of online gambling in some countries.

Adelson takes the personal approach in the Forbes article, saying that he is concerned for American society as the father of two teenage boys. “What started with arcade games, like Pac-man 30 years ago, has now morphed into an environment where kids’ formative years are spent immersed in tablets, smart phones, home video games and other portable electronic devices.”

Adelson’s comments come just as The Verge published an article that opposition to online gambling is actually on the decline following the Department of Justice’s new interpretation of the Wire Act at  the end of 2011.

“That’s when the floodgates opened,” explains the article. “In 2012, New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware became the first three states to legalize forms of online gambling at the state level. California, Illinois, and other states are looking at doing the same. And as the states make their own rules, pressure on the federal government to weigh in is increasing.”

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