Friday May 9,2014 : ADELSON HOLDS FORTH IN BLOOMBERG T.V. INTERVIEW
But can he really be so ill-informed on internet gambling?
Land casino mogul Sheldon Adelson took his jihad against US online gambling to Bloomberg's business TV channels this week in an interview with Betty Liu which showed either a deliberate or ill-informed disregard for the facts.
Our thought the ninth wealthiest man in America came over as somewhat overbearing and even arrogant, bolstered by a confidence that has admittedly been earned by the outstanding success of his land business ventures under the Las Vegas Sands banner.
Readers can judge for themselves by viewing the vid here:
Among the points he made that jarred:
* Perhaps unintentionally, he gave the snobbish impression that internet gambling was in his opinion for the "poor… working class… middle class – unfortunate people" and that his land casinos attract a better-off class of gambler. That sort of hubris does not sit well. Furthermore it's simply not true in a general sense, taking into account the numerous independent surveys that show the preponderance of well-educated young punters in the professions who entertain themselves online, and the considerable sums of money that are reflected in high stakes poker games and progressive slots online.
* His boast that his enterprises are larger than all the other land gambling operators combined may be true but create a perception of a braggart.
* One of the central themes of the Adelson jihad against online gambling is his questionable claim that the genre facilitates money laundering, and sure enough he used this one in the interview, along with his "casino in every pocket" throwaway. That criticism reeks of hypocrisy when the news that his company paid a $47 million settlement to end an investigation into money laundering claims at his Venetian property in Las Vegas is still fresh. It has similar echoes of hypocrisy to his company's involvement in online wagering on horse racing.
* Adelson also made the startling assertion that regulation was absent in online gambling, whilst his land enterprises are licensed in several jurisdictions. It is difficult to believe that a successful businessman like Adelson is not well enough briefed to know that online gambling is well and successfully regulated in a number of international jurisdictions across Europe, and in three states in the USA renowned for strict requirements.
* His claim that the technology to exclude under-age and problem gamblers is inadequate, and that he can better vet and track players in his land-based establishments is also arguable.
* Adelson claims that he is not motivated in his fight against online gambling by protectionism for his land based casinos, saying that internet players are not his sort of market. That undermines the already debunked arguments from other anti-online gambling bodies that internet gambling cannibalises land casino revenues.
Adelson was at least modest in answering Liu's question on whether he is a good blackjack player (he admits he is not).
He reiterated in the interview his intent to spend "whatever it takes" to outlaw US online gambling; that has repeatedly been backed by media reports on his hiring of politicians and lobbyists, along with the funding of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
Asked by Liu how much he has spent so far on his tilt at the online gambling windmill, Adelson flatly declined to respond.