Wednesday February 18,2015 : ADELSON OPPONENTS NEED BETTER SPIN, SAY EXPERTS
Well-funded Adelson lobbyists better at packaging their message.
The online gambling banning struggle between lobbyists funded generously by land casino baron Sheldon Adelson and the allegedly less well-coordinated persuaders who oppose such a ban has attracted critiques from experts in the field.
The consensus appears to be that whilst the Adelson opponents have sound arguments, the lack of cohesion and the lack of a message that grabs and holds the attention of busy Washington politicians is a flaw that needs fixing.
Adelson lobbyists, who it is alleged carry their well-spun message and catchy slogans into the corridors of Congress on an almost daily basis, tell Congressmen that a ban is needed on internet gambling to counter the risk of financial and moral ruin in America.
Bloombergs news reports:
"Adelson's shock-and-awe messaging strategy is savvy, say online gaming advocates. Most federal lawmakers don't spend their days thinking about online gambling, so a startling line like one used by the Adelson-backed Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling on its website: "Your kid's smartphone could be a casino" — is an easy way to get in the door to make your case."
With the Restoration of the American Wire Act – Adelson's banning legalization – now re-introduced to Congress the pro-online gambling lobby needs to up its game in better presenting what is a basically a strong argument for legalization, namely:
Online gambling legalization or banning is an issue best left to individual states; solid and respected studies show no correlation between online betting and the end of society; new geo-location and age- verification technology keeps poker off the mobile devices of minors; and prohibiting internet gambling will only push it offshore and underground, increasing risk for US consumers.
Georgetown University Law professor Heidi Li Feldman said that these arguments will not work in Congress without a cohesive approach with a presentation and slogan that make lawmakers sit up and listen.
The Bloomberg article on the situation points out that since the American Gaming Association backed away from the issue, allegedly under pressure from Adelson, the pro-online gambling movement lacks a perceived leader, noting that the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection is significantly less active than Adelson's Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
That leaves pro-online gambling groups like Caesars, MGM and individual lobbyists almost on their own in building and presenting tactics and a strategy to win.
Hopefully, the recent agreement between Caesars and Pokerstars to work together on fighting a federal ban will have an impact on the situation.
As Professor Feldman noted: "It doesn't really matter what the merits of any given issue are. The side that gets heard will be the side that gets responded to."