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Casino Boss Sheldon Adelson: Internet Gambling A 'Toxin' And Could Bring On 'Plague'

Las Vegas Sands Owner Still Opposed To Games In Cyberspace

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Billionaire Sheldon Adelson has not changed his position on online gambling, as his Wednesday editorial in Forbes bluntly lays out. He said online gambling could bring a “plague” “to our society.” He finished the op-ed by calling the business a “toxin.”

Adelson has long publicly cited moral reasons for such a stance, as he claims that he believes such an industry would be corrosive to the social life of individuals, especially young persons due to what he argues is their propensity for addiction to Internet games. But does this position make much sense given the very nature of brick-and-mortar casinos? Countless lives over the decades have been obliterated in the Mojave Desert at the hands of live casino gambling.

It seems possible, given the advances made by Las Vegas Sands’ competitors, that Adelson is simply not ready for an online gambling product. Launching such a project requires a ton of work and most likely a partnership with an existing online gambling firm. Caesars Entertainment Corp., for example, partnered with Gibraltar-based 888 to develop a Nevada poker site. It’s nearly impossible, these days, to develop a popular site from scratch.

In addition, Las Vegas Sands is heavily involved with expanding its absurdly profitable business in Macau, the gambling capital of the world in terms of money siphoned off from customers. Macau is far more lucrative, at least at the present time, than any online gambling venture could be in the United States. Sands, obviously, also is perpetually interested in strengthening its U.S.-facing business, which is headquartered in Las Vegas.

In defense of such an analysis on his true reasoning, Adelson, 79, wrote:

“Critics will claim I have ulterior motives in taking such a strong stand on this issue. They’ll say I’m just afraid to compete for this business or that I’m worried about the impact on my land-based casinos in Nevada and Pennsylvania.

First, with our popular brands…we would be very effective competitors in this market place. Having started more than 50 different successful businesses over the course of my nearly seven decades-long business career, I’m not afraid of competing with anyone.

Second, our company makes twice as much money from our non-gaming attractions in the United States than we do from our casino operations. Finally, almost all our casino profits come from Asia, where online gambling doesn’t exist and won’t be legalized soon, if ever."

Perhaps the most concrete argument Adelson raised in his op-ed was that online gambling might take away from the business of brick-and-mortars, since people might be inclined to stay home more often. This claim is fiercely contested by other casino firms, as they think online gambling will provide a way for wary customers to learn games from home — and for cheap or for free — before eventually coming into the real-life casino. (There’s also tricks like making free-play slots have one “win” more often than they would in real life). Also, creating an online gambling account would require providing a casino company with a treasure trove of personal information, allowing it to offer a ceaseless barrage of promotional offers to make a physical trip. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to know for sure what will happen to visitation numbers.

So far, only Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legalized online gambling; so even if Sands had a product ready to go, there wouldn’t be a huge player pool to offer games to. Efforts on the part of some Congressmen to pass a federal online gambling bill have never amounted to anything really worth writing about. Even if Sands and Adelson wanted to launch a site, and had it prepped, there would be little money in it.

Image is Victims of the Black Plague via the Everett Collection.

 
 
 
 

Comments

Casey1
over 7 years ago

Of course this hypocrite sees internet gambling as a plague, It's going to eat a bunch of his profits. Man tools like this really annoy the !@#$ out of me. "Oh it's okay as long as I am the one profiting from it." Same kind of BS thinking that's coming out of Washington these days, this whole it's okay for me but not for you mentality.

 
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x19
over 7 years ago

....poker players should NOT be playing at the Venetian in protest of Sheldons insanity and his ridiculous rhetoric.....simply dont play there for a while.

 
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Barry2
over 7 years ago

When did we stop being the land of the free, guys like this make me sick. I plan to avoid his properties.

 
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notCIA
over 7 years ago

While I do not agree with Mr. Adelson's conclusions, I don't think his position comes from any fear of his business being hurt. Most casinos either make very little money or even lose money on their poker room. In no way is it as profitable as slots per square foot of floor space. Many casinos tolerate poker rooms only to keep customers in the casino, not as a profit center. It is to Mr. Adelson's credit he runs one of the finest poker room operations in Vegas.

 
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cappman
over 7 years ago

UR KIDDING RIGHT POKER IS SECOND BEHIND SLOTS IN PROFITS.

 
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Steve17
over 7 years ago

Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the LV Sands Corporation is correct, Online Gaming will harm existing casinos in any jurisdiction where both are available. And his concerns about the impact online games will have on families and children cannot be downplayed.
There is no question that minors will find a way to wager on casino games, and it will only be days or months before current popular video games will be added to the casino gaming arsenal. Remember, the children of today are the young adults of tomorrow, and there's little doubt that our offspring's favorite Game Boy inclusions will soon be available in slot machine form at your nearby casino. Which translates into availability at home, if Online Gaming is present. I don't have Sheldon's level of influence, but I have been voicing the same concern's in New Jersey, and the impact I feel Internet wagering will have on Atlantic City casinos and their employees. There's no question that Online Gaming will help decrease casino company losses, now being realized by all AC casinos, and may keep one or more from closing, but I do believe live visits to the actual AC casinos will continue its 7 year decline, and that in the next few years thousands more of the resort employees will find their way to the unemployment line.

 
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blegend
over 7 years ago

I don't see how Sheldon Adelson is still alive he looks like he's been hit by the plague. It didn't have anything to do with online poker either so what the hell is he talking about?

 
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OverSoul
over 7 years ago

U R CIA because you miss the point. The point is, where does Adelson derive the authority to deny someone a 2 cent turbo mtt sit and go? What happened to freedom in the U.S.??? Furthermore, what kind of credibility does he have when he has made his billions through gambling? Problem gambling on the Internet will never reach any greater percentage than it does in the general public. That's the nature of addiction. Addiction has proven to be more personality driven than opportunity driven. In the Viet Nam war era, because of the availability of drugs in Asia, the press was preparing and scaring the public to be ready for a nation of drug addicts when the GIs returned from the war. Well, guess what?It turned out there was no greater percentage of soldiers who got addicted than there was in the general population. What is happening in the U.S., with regard to personal freedom of choice is enough to make one renounce there citizenship, if it were economically feasible to leave.

 
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Pokerhertom
over 7 years ago

Boycott the bastard. Vote with your dollars. No go to his casinos see how he likes that. He is just as bad as the CA Indian Tribes who are blocking Online Poker in CA.

 
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