Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

Casino Mogul Voices Online Gaming Opposition

Steve Wynn Changes Tune About Web Gambling


Previously, all signs seemed to indicate that Steve Wynn was fully on board with gambling moving into the online realm, but as a Friday interview with Ralston Reports showed, that might not be the case. Wynn expressed views that basically echoed those of Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands and online poker’s most outspoken opponent.

It’s a little muddled where Wynn’s back-tracking on the issue comes from. He reportedly said that he’s concerned that the federal government would tax online gaming revenue at too high of a rate. Wynn is a staunch Republican and dislikes Obama.

Wynn also reportedly said of the technology to keep minors out, which others apparently have touted as flawless: “I’m sure it was impressive if you were a cyber guy. But it was bullsh—.”

The prevailing sentiment among others in the industry, as expressed at various hearings in recent memory, is that online gambling sites aren’t perfect at preventing those who shouldn’t be playing from playing, but neither are brick-and-mortar casinos.

According to the report, both Adelson and Wynn are worried about online gambling creating a scandal terrible enough to affect the image of brick-and-mortar gambling. It is worth noting that Wynn is in the middle of an expensive campaign to build a casino near Boston.

Wynn’s feeling on the chances of a federal bill for online gambling coming to fruition are pretty much inline with some others in the casino industry. It just has little chance of happening, so his opinion, while important, is not too new.

“[Legalizing web gaming] can’t get through the House of Representatives,” Wynn said. “They can’t agree on anything, especially something this esoteric.”

Online gambling has long been considered a state-by-state issue.

Now, Adelson has expressed interest in pushing forward a bill that would ban online gambling in the United States. That, also, is a far-fetched proposal. His anti-online gambling campaign will likely be most felt at the state level, where he recently found allies in the former of at least 10 state attorney generals. A lot of the work of the “Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling”, which Adelson has pledged to fund endlessly, has been coming in the form of public relations.

Currently, three states, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have legalized web gambling. Ironically, Wynn Resorts has been licensed by Nevada to offer web gambling, though it hasn’t yet done so. Just recently, New Jersey said OK to Wynn partnering with Caesars Entertainment Corp. for Internet betting in New Jersey. Wynn also had a tentative deal with PokerStars for online poker in Nevada, but that was pre-Black Friday.

While Wynn isn’t a member of the American Gaming Association, Las Vegas Sands is. The AGA has been lobbying heavily in favor of Congress legalizing online poker.

Wynn, 72, and Adelson, 80, are both immensely experienced in the gambling business, but with developing casino-resorts, not with the web. Wynn admitted that.

“I know how to do [casinos],” Wynn said. “But I don’t know how to do that on a 17-inch screen.”

Wynn’s comments, while troubling to online poker supporters, aren’t quite as strong as Adelson’s, who once called online gaming a “toxin” to society.

Another reason for Wynn and Adelson being less than interested in online gambling in the United States? Las Vegas Sands took in $8.96 billion from its Macau operations in 2013, out of its overall revenue of $13.77 billion. Wynn Resorts posted $5.62 billion in overall revenue for 2013, $4.04 billion of which came from Macau.



7 years ago

Cool, another casino to boycott.


7 years ago

Buggy Whip manufacturers must've hated the invention of the horseless carriage and tried everything they could to stop its proliferation!

Get on the right side of history Sheldon & Steve, you may be able to delay but will never be able to stop inevitable technological innovation and mass consumer demand.


7 years ago

Two turds floating in a toilet just asking to be flushed.