Sunday May 11,2014 : LAND CASINO EXEC DEBUNKS ADELSON T.V. INTERVIEW (Update)
A more balanced and professional view from Borgata CEO.
In a follow-up to Sheldon Adelson's anti-online gambling television interview earlier this week, the president and CEO of the Borgata in Atlantic City, Tom Ballance, debunked the questionable assertions made earlier by Adelson.
Interviewed by Betty Liu of Bloomberg TV's "In The Loop" business program, Ballance, a 26-year land industry veteran whose company also runs online operations in New Jersey, dismantled the Adelson arguments one by one in a calm, professional and factual manner here:
He argued that in his experience Adelson's claim that a wealthier class of gambler frequented land casinos was incorrect, and doubted that online sites exploited the poor, noting that to gamble online a bank card was necessary, and that stringent sign up requirements had to be met.
He said that the online punter in general exhibited differences from the typical land casino gambler, who was more committed and prepared to travel to a land casino. Online gamblers, in contrast, tended to be more casual, gambled less frequently and for a shorter time.
This difference gives the lie to claims that online gambling cannibalises land gambling, and from experience it has become apparent that the online gambler is a generally different demographic who in many cases was not previously part of land casino databases.
Therefore online gambling represents a new distribution channel through which land casino operators can reach out to a new demographic.
Asked why online gambling had been slow in taking off in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, Ballance explained that awareness was one of the hurdles being addressed by operators, and detailed the difficulties that had been encountered with payment processing.
But technologies were improving and problems were being overcome, he said.
Ballance said that the suggestion that online gambling facilitated money laundering was questionable, opining that the online environment was a difficult one for any money launderer.
Explaining why, he ran through the checks possible through sophisticated KYC software such as ID and age verification, access to IRS master and other databases for checks, the gathering of Social Security and address verifying data and the efficacy of geolocation technology.
He contended that there was no room for anonymity on properly regulated internet gambling sites, and opined that online operators can more effectively track and apply "Know Your Customer" and responsible gaming requirements than land casinos.
Ballance addressed Adelson's comments regarding card shuffling requirements and regulation in general by pointing out that legal and licensed online casinos were strictly regulated in the US, and that the random number generators were thoroughly tested for fairness.
"It's a square game and you know it is," he said.