For some time now it has been public knowledge that billionaire Sheldon Adelson is not a fan of online gambling in the United States. The Las Vegas Sands CEO has been a vocal proponent of any type of Internet casino and poker gambling, whether offered at the individual state or at the federal levels in the US. He publicly vowed to spend “as much money as it takes” to shut down the growing US online gambling industry recently, but he may have a problem. If Adelson sees virtual gambling as a threat to his physical casinos, online gambling proponents and business owners definitely see Mister Adelson as a threat to their well-being and existence. And they are fighting back.
Caesers Spends $1.8 Million on Online Gambling Lobbying in 2014
Get a couple of influential lobbyists and congressmen or women in your pocket and you have some great allies in the online gambling war. That is exactly what Adelson has been attempting to do, but Caesars Entertainment is not standing by helplessly. It was revealed recently from industry analysts that the Las Vegas Sands Corporation has spent $460,000 this year in its efforts to stop online gambling in the United States. However, Caesars has easily trumped that number, spending $1 million in just the second quarter, and a full $1.8 million thus far in 2014 to keep online gambling a viable industry. We are talking here about strictly lobbying efforts, and not advertisements promoting their casinos.
MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming Chip In $470,000 Towards Online Gambling Lobbying Efforts
The $460,000 which Adelson has spent through his Sands Corporation is a very significant number, even for wealthy lobbyists. But Caesars outspending the anti-gambling Adelson by a margin of 4 to 1 this year is a good sign that the company is seeing Internet gambling progress. And they are not alone in their battle against the embattled Adelson. Boyd Gaming has contributed $230,000 to pro-gambling lobbyists, with MGM Resorts International spending $240,000 of its own money preaching the positives of online gambling.
As it stands right now, the United States online gambling industry includes the states of New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. Pennsylvania and California are close to adopting some type of Internet gambling industry, and roughly 9 or 10 other states are seriously considering it as well. In the beginning, Mister Adelson was probably correct to be concerned about cannibalization. It could be argued that people will stay out of physical casinos if they can access a virtual casino any time of the night or day from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC. But studies have been conducted in New Jersey which showed that people gambling online are not the same human beings that enjoy going to a land-based casino. This is a whole new market. In spite of these studies, Adelson pushes on in his blind-eyed ignorance of the facts.
Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling Looks to Criminalize Players
As soon as these numbers become public domain, expect Mister Adelson to step up his financial attack. Just last year, he and his wife Miriam spent $92 million on political candidate donations across the US. That type of money is sure to make some devoted politicians friendly to Adelson’s cause. The billionaire formed the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, and has worked with legislators to produce a bill which would outlaw Internet gambling across the country, even offering penalties for the gamblers themselves. Currently, the federal and state laws which outlaw Internet gambling only apply to banking and financial institutions which process transactions, and the corporations themselves which offer virtual gambling options. No single US citizen has ever been charged with placing a wager online as a criminal offense.