Casino Magnate Openly Wants to Use Feds to Destroy Internet Competition

Sheldon Adelson wants all the money for himself -- for the sake of the children, of course


Why would you ever gamble online and give up the chance to ride in a boat across a wading pool in 100-degree temperatures?
Credit: Wolfgang Staudt / Foter.com / CC BY

Imagine if McDonald's, rather than attempting to add chicken wings to their menu, instead tried to deal with their fast food competitors by trying to outlaw KFC. Who knows – maybe they'd try if they thought they could get away with it. They can't, but casino magnate Sheldon Adelson believes he can use his fortune to keep Internet gambling from becoming legal. The Washington Post notes today the blatant, open corporate cronyism of a man trying to cast a sinister light on Internet gambling in order to protect himself from competition:

Billionaire casino magnate Shel­don Adelson, whose record-breaking campaign spending in 2012 made him an icon of the new super-donor era, is leveraging that newfound status in an escalating feud with industry rivals over the future of gambling.

Adelson, best known for building upscale casino resorts in Nevada and more recently in Asia, wants to persuade Congress to ban Internet betting. He says the practice is a danger to society and could tarnish the industry's traditional business model.

Nearly all of his competitors, including Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, disagree. They say regulated Internet gambling can be done safely and can boost the industry.

Really, imagine people online giving you money and you not needing to pay overhead for housekeepers and buffets and drink specials and the whole Las Vegas/Atlantic City "experience."

But that's not where Adelson is at. He's going to launch an advocacy group, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, and create an advertising campaign to paint Internet gambling as evil, using the same fears of online child predators that your local news station does, to try to lure in nannyish supporters. For the children, folks! We mustn't allow Internet casinos to take money out of Adelson's pocket for the sake of the children!

Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legalized online gambling to a certain degree, so Adelson may be trying to fight the tide. Those rival casinos who support Internet gambling point out that Adelson's efforts would backfire, even if he succeeds, by entrenching an Internet gambling black market:

"Sheldon's approach would endanger everything he professes he wanted to protect," said Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president for government relations at Caesars Entertainment. Adelson argues that a strictly enforced federal ban would effectively shut down black-market gambling.  

Sadly, The Washington Post neglects to press Adelson to give an example of a "strictly enforced federal ban" that had successfully shut down any black market, ever, in American history.

Read the whole story here.