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Sheldon Adelson Gambling Attack Rebutted
Wednesday June 26,2013 : LAND GAMBLING MOGUL'S ATTACK ON INTERNET GAMBLING REBUTTED (Update)
Adelson's allegations described as preposterous".
Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson's attack on internet gambling last week continues to create ripples as industry figures react to some of his more questionable statements regarding online gambling and its impact on society.
How far those ripples have extended is clear from a lengthy article published by ABC News at:
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/online-poker-boycott-threatened-adelson-remarks/story?id=19473807&page=2#.Ucm2FGgaI3E in which experts like California attorney Martin D. Owens and Professor Nelson Rose from Whittier Law School comment, along with Poker Players Alliance director John Pappas.
Owens describes the Adelson attack as "preposterous" and characterises it as "...a very belated and unimaginative rear-guard action," pointing out that Internet gambling is already established in the United States, with 32 states sanctioning it for horse betting.
Online gambling worldwide is a $30 billion phenomenon, he adds; online poker alone accounts for $15 billion worldwide. Of that total, the U.S. accounts for a little less than half--or about $6 billion.
As for why the Internet gaming boom has been accompanied in Europe by a decrease in casino attendance, Owens sees nothing more pernicious at work than a change in gamblers' demographics: Young people now do everything online, including gamble. If the young aren't streaming into brick and mortar casinos, Owens is not surprised: "Nobody drives an Oldsmobile anymore, either."
Owens also recalls the important and scientifically conducted Harvard Medical School study on problem gambling, which indicated that the overwhelming majority of online gamers play in a very moderate manner, spending minimal amounts on gaming, giving the lie to one of Adelson's claims that online gambling was more dangerous.
That study, collected data in a highly professional manner from around 40,000 - the biggest sampling yet.
Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas is quoted as regarding Adelson's internet gambling fears as "baseless."
"I think he's missed the mark by a wide margin," says Pappas. "The reality is that licensed and regulated internet poker is taking place worldwide and right here in America and right here in his back yard of Nevada.
"All of the perceived evils have been addressed through appropriate oversight - greater oversight and regulation than what's available in a brick-and-mortar setting.
"Age-verification? Protecting problem gamblers? Those can be addressed on the Internet even better than in one of Mr. Adelson's casinos."
Pappas says that online every action by every player can be tracked in real time in what he calls "a regulator's dream."
Adelson's referencing of an unidentified European study on online gambling which found it to be a threat is also debunked in the article, which notes that neither Pappas or anybody else contacted by ABC News was able to identify and confirm the study to which Adelson referred.
Pappas further argues against Adelson's comments that online gambling is evil and "toxic" by pointing out that almost every other brick and mortar casino [except the Adelson's group] looks at internet gambling as a complementary offering.
"Only those who have trouble understanding how to use the Internet would miss the opportunity to bring customers into their casinos via that channel," Pappas opines.
There are, the PPA exec claims, great cross-marketing potentials to be realised: letting online players, say, accrue reward points that they then can redeem at terrestrial casinos.
The article reports on the widespread anger and criticism within the industry and player communities that Adelson's remarks have triggered, extending even to calls for a boycott against his commercial interests in gambling.
Speaking for the PPA, Pappas says: "Nothing's being organized by us; but yes, we've heard, certainly, from plenty of outraged players. The fervor has increased since last week, with some saying they will never play the Venetian again."
However, that would likely not hurt Adelson's group, Pappas observes, noting that poker is not a big profit centre for the Adelson interests and never has been.
"It's an attraction to bring in a type of customer who will then go on to play the slot machines or the craps table or the sports book," Pappas opines.
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