Looking at the message and not at the messenger
Last week, Sheldon Adelson continued his fight against online gambling in the United States by publishing an editorial in the Las Vegas Review-Journal entitled “Valid reasons to oppose internet gambling”. He also stated that journalists have been attacking him and not focusing on the message, claiming that it is a way to be critical of his stance without defending the topic. So for now, we will try to ignore the fact that Sheldon Adelson is picking and choosing the subjects he prefers in order to protect his casino empire, and just focus on the message he promotes.
Americans are not against online gambling
The editorial starts off with Adelson talking about how most Americans prefer live casino gaming and how recent surveys show that 70% of citizens don’t approve of online gambling.
This start does not show a lot of promise since it is based on a lie. The research Adelson made and is citing from in this statement was actually founded by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which he owns. More importantly, the polls were only made in four states, so even if the 70 percent figure is accurate, it does only reflect the opinion of 4 states out of a nation of 50.
I fact, the Online Poker Report recently published a poll in which most Americans do not oppose online poker. Less than one third of the 1,500 Americans taking part in the study were strongly against internet poker and most of the people interviewed were actually in the middle.
Adelson then tries to reassure readers that the Las Vegas Sands will not suffer from internet gambling and that this is not a way to protect its profits since most of it comes from non-gaming sources and high rollers which are not likely to play on the internet.
However, the message is quite off base since it is impossible to ignore the financial reason involved in Adelson’s fight against online gambling. The Las Vegas Sands would benefit a lot by preventing its competition from getting additional revenue from a market in which it will not join. There is also the influence of online gambling in the state having on land-based casinos and how the two can compete for the same customers.
After claiming that online gambling in the US will not affect the revenue his casinos get, Sheldon Adelson turns back on the subject and takes it to the extreme by stating in his article that internet gaming will be the death of land-based casinos in the country, giving Europe as an example.
But again, the arguments brought forward have no legs to stand on since the gambling industry in Europe has actually showed that online gambling is not a replacement for land-based casinos, but an adjunct. The only players which will only access the gambling options via internet are the ones which wouldn’t go to a casino in the first place, for various reasons.
The article continues with various topics meant to deceive the readers into believing that online gambling should be opposed because it will basically destroy the land-based casino industry, give underage players limitless access and make everybody addicted to gambling. The truth couldn’t be further away from Adelson’s point of view.