NJ Senator and the PPA respond to Adelson’s threat
Things are getting heated in New Jersey as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson declared earlier this week that he will start a big campaign against online gambling in the United States and push for a federal ban to prevent any form of internet betting. Since New Jersey is the biggest state so far to legalize online gambling and with the launch date just a few days away, Senator Raymond Lesniak has already started the fight against Adelson and urges the poker community to do the same.
New Jersey has started its trial run before the launch on November 26 and has recently released the list of new operators approved to join, which includes Caesars’ Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City. This will not just give Caesars the green light to launch but also make it possible for its partner – 888 Holdings – to do the same. While players from Europe can very easily try any of 888 slot games now, New Jersey residents will have to wait a few more days to get their hands on the great titles provided by one of the biggest online gaming operators in the world.
The threat that Sheldon Adelson can become for the online gambling industry, not just in New Jersey but across the entire country, can no longer be left without a response; according to the decision made by Sen. Lesniak to write to relevant parties in the state about what the casino magnate intents to do. The Senator stated that he is “going to stop him in his tracks” while speaking of Adelson. He went on to mention that internet gaming is the best way to help the struggling casinos in Atlantic City, with thousands of jobs on the line.
Adelson’s campaign to show online gambling as a danger to underage players and the poor, combined with his drive to hire lobbyists to push for a federal ban despite state efforts, can cost New Jersey billions of dollars.
Poker Players Alliance joins in
One of the major supporters for online poker in the United States is the Poker Players Alliance and its Executive Director, John Pappas, announced that they will fight back against Sheldon Adelson and try to give states the option to legalize online gaming if they wish to do so.
In an interview with PocketFives, Pappas mentions that while Adelson’s arguments are not based on facts and don’t make sense, the fact that he plans on investing millions of dollars in an ad campaign, can persuade a large portion of the population to believe them. This in turn can cause problems for the new industry in the Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey while also increasing the risk of a federal ban getting more support from the public.
Pappas also talks about the hypocrisy behind this anti-iGaming campaign when players at the Venetian Casino (owned by Sheldon Adelson) can place sports bets by using their smartphones and tablets. Despite owning several casinos in the country and one in Macau, the arguments Adelson brings against online gambling are very similar to those made against land-based casinos years ago.
Looking across the ocean
If more arguments are needed to show that Sheldon Adelson’s fight against online gambling in the United States has not legs to stand on, one can simply look at the prosperous iGaming industry in Europe and in other regulated markets.
The United Kingdom is by far the biggest online gambling market, with tens of great operators offering online poker, casino games, sports betting, bingo and just about every form of gambling up for debate in the US. The sites are carefully regulated and players are guaranteed security while they are free to enjoy the gambling options they want over the internet.