The latest war of words between Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson and the online poker world shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Adelson, whose LV Sands properties include the popular Las Vegas poker destination The Venetian, has repulsed poker players by the thousands with a series of high-profile attacks on the online-poker industry, the aim of which seems to be to short-circuit any chance of future federal legalization efforts.
Adelson’s attacks began with a Forbes op/ed full of some of the worst and most hypocritical fluff served up in gambling circles in recent years. Titled “Sheldon Adelson: Online Gambling is Fool’s Gold“, the piece leads off with this classic bit of doggerel:
“Click your mouse and lose your house” isn’t a marketing slogan for advocates of legalized online gambling. But it should be.
And onward from there, with Adelson proclaiming the virtues of his form of land-based casino gambling as wholesome family entertainment, while decrying online gambling as “… a threat to our society—a toxin which all good people ought to resist.”
In between, Adelson decried the impact online gambling would have on land-based casinos, despite asserting that his particular corporation was well placed to handle the pressure… despite LVSands being well behind the curve in Nevada, where online poker is already legal.
Adelson also gave the world some voodoo math, suggesting that online availability for gambling has cost European casinos some 20% of their live-casino visits. In the US, Adelson then says this would cost the US gaming big-time:
“What does that information foretell for us here in the United States? To begin with, a loss of 200,000 direct gaming industry jobs and additional 200,000 lost indirect and induced jobs. That’s 400, 000 lost jobs in casino-hosting cities across America.”
Neat trick, since the entire US gaming industry is only about 300,000 jobs. But if you’re gonna lie, lie R-E-A-L big. Adelson, after all, is a morally superior man, not to mention a gen-u-ine American patriot:
“As an industry leader, and more importantly as a father, grandfather, citizen and patriot of this great country, I am adamantly opposed to the legalization and proliferation of online gaming.”
You’ll remember this is the same Sheldon Adelson who’s in trouble both here and abroad regarding the massive bribery schemes he engaged in to get his giant Macau casino built, which now provides the lion’s share of LV Sands’ considerable income.
Anyhow, Adelson didn’t stop there. He then did videos for ABC News’ “Nightline” and Bloomberg Television’s “Money Moves with Dierdre Bolton” in which his attacks on poker became even more direct.
On Bloomberg TV, Bolton cited poker’s skill-game aspects in asking Adelson why poker should be treated the way Adelson desires.
Adelson responded, “That ‘skill-based’ in my opinion is just a bunch of baloney. To get a card is not skill based.”
Adelson had more great words for online poker and online gambling in general. “It’s a train wreck, it’s a toxicity, it’s a cancer waiting to happen.”
Poker’s response to Adelson has been widespread and uniform, featuring both high and lowlights we may summarize in a future piece. Among the most interesting of those is a renewed call for a poker players’ boycott of the Venetian and other LV Sands properties, a movement which has already picked up several famous supporters.
Meanwhile, Adelson shows no signs of letting up in his one-man campaign to alienate the poker world. Pocket Fives first broke news (and Bluff’s Lance Bradley confirmed as genuine), a new and cheap site at stopinternetgambling.com and an associated video on YouTube, all paid for by LV Sands.
Here’s an outtake from that video, showing the depths to which Adelson and LV Sands have sunk:
Disgusting. Venal. Shameless. Age-verification measures are in prominent use throughout the gambling industry.
Adelson’s faux moral crusade aside, this is a man and a corporation that really, truly knows how to spit in the face of its potential customers… and no, we’re not referring to those imagined eight-year-old slots addicts depicted above. We’re talking about the real poker players and other adult gamblers who do so responsibly, and believe they have the right to spend their own discretionary income in the manner that they wish.
One wishes that Adelson and his yawing pockets wouldn’t be receiving any of those dollars.
In a just world, the Venetian’s popular Deep Stack Extravaganza (DSE) series would turn into a dust bowl, and the Venetian would be forced to shutter its poker room due to the emptiness and echoes therein. Not that Adelson would probably mind; he’d just jam in more slot machines in poker’s absence. Nonetheless, Adelson demonstrates to us all that the Venetian and other LVSands are places where responsible poker players shouldn’t do business.