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Sheldon Adelson: 'Willing To Spend Whatever It Takes' To Thwart Online Poker In United States

Casino Boss Responds To Report Of New Anti-Online Gambling Group


Billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson has just told Forbes that he is up for spending an ungodly amount of cash in order to crush online gambling developments in the U.S.

Adelson’s comments to Forbes were his first public remarks on the topic since The Washington Post reported that he will be kicking off the “Coalition To Stop Internet Gambling” in January.

“My moral standard compels me to speak out on this issue because I am the largest company by far in the industry and I am willing to speak out,” he said.

“I don’t see any compelling reason for the government to allow people to gamble on the Internet and nobody has ever explained except for the two companies whose special interest is going to be served if there is gaming on the Internet, Caesars and MGM.”

He also told Forbes bluntly: “I am willing to spend whatever it takes.”

That comment is coming from someone who spent — arguably wasted — around $100 million trying to get a Republican in the White House in 2012.

His net worth is valued at around $28.5 billion.

Some have called his position inconsistent, but he has maintained that he thinks gambling on the web would be too accessible for those underage and who otherwise shouldn’t gamble.

His argument has of course been debated for a long time by people within the industry.

Adelson’s strongest anti-online poker rhetoric, at least made in public, came this summer when he wrote an op-end for Forbes claiming that online gambling could bring a “plague” “to our society.” He finished the op-ed by calling the business a “toxin.”

Some have pointed out that Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. is not in need of revenue from online gambling like some of his competitors appear to be. Sands makes an incredible fortune from casino operations in Macau, the world’s top gambling market.

Adelson wants to oppose online poker on two fronts. He will dispatch people to fight the issue at the state level, as well as try to convince lawmakers on Capitol Hill to ban the industry outright. The latter seems to be nearly impossible, so Adelson’s most dangerous effects, if you think web poker should be available, would be in states where the issue is up for debate.

Several are expected to take up the conversation in 2014.

Adelson’s upcoming battle seems to be a rare disagreement among casino interests in the United States. After all, laws that are beneficial for one casino are typically beneficial for all, at least if you are talking about the Nevada-based giants.

In fact, Sands is a member of the American Gaming Association, which MGM and Caesars also belong to. The AGA is a vocal supporter of online gambling legalization in the U.S.

In some sense, it all makes no sense.