What Is Sheldon Adelson's Real Problem With Online Gambling?April 22, 2014 6:50 pm
Over the past few years gaming analysts have pondered over gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s real motive for wanting to see online gambling disappear altogether from the US.
If one was to take Adelson’s explanation on face value then apparently the Las Vegas Sands CEO is primarily concerned with the moral fibre of US citizens and sees online gambling as a potential “societal train wreck waiting to happen.”
However, few people believe Adelson’s so-called ethical stance, especially seeing his $40 billion fortune has been built on the money lost by gamblers at his numerous casinos. Furthermore, how much moral guidance can one seek from a man whose political tactics to reign in Iran’s nuclear programme consists of threatening to nuke Tehran in order to teach the Iranians “we mean business.”
Clearly, Sheldon Adelson’s negative attitude towards online gambling is purely a matter of convenience so as to head off a perceived threat to his land-based business. In such a game disparate alliance are forged, including the recent one between Adelson and Southern Baptist Lindsey Graham to come down hard on online poker, despite the fact The Southern Baptist Convention has often stated its extreme adversity to the gambling industry in general, having condemned it as “immoral,” “harmful,” and “devastating.”
Instead, other more practical motivations have been suggested for Sheldon Adelson’s extremely counter-intuitive stance to igaming, most noticeably his desire to halt the progress of competitors such as Caesars Entertainment Corp from gaining a solid foothold in America’s fledgling online gambling market. Caesars WSOP.com brand has already risen to the top of Nevada, while Caesars Interactive/888 is also riding high in New Jersey just behind Borgata/Party Poker.
Seeing a slow down in the progress of igaming legislation will undoubtedly cut off a potentially valuable source of income for his casino rivals, and as Matt Kaufman highlights in his quadjacks article called Sheldon Adelson’s Real Agenda:
“If Adelson’s opposition to iGaming manages to slow down the industry to the point that Caesars is legitimately hurt by it, it may even prevent them from competing with him in the convention business which has done so well for him. Any corporation would prefer to hold an event at a frequently-upgraded Sands convention center compared to Caesars properties which without influxes of cash will be in need of renovations.”
Adelson recognizes the future of his industry lies with the expansion of internet gambling, and also having a significant presence in the lucrative Asian market. Therefore, having already established Sands as the biggest US gambling interest in Asia, it seems natural for him to also seek to stave off the threat to his business from online gambling at home back in the States.