Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has recently been in the news over recent claims he has made about the online gambling industry, calling it “a threat to society-a toxin which all good people ought to resist.”
Adelson’s statement comes as more and more states in the US are passing bills to legalize online gambling. Land-based casino owners are worried that their fortunes wrapped up in casinos will soon vanish to online-based games, and that such venues may one day become obsolete.
While it may be a long time before land-based venues disappear the move my Adelson shows there is concern in the industry. However, such concern is undermined by comments such as the one by Adelson above that claim online gambling is somehow a terrible thing to do while land-based venues are no problem.
That, however, is a problem.
The casino owners in the US are no doubt fighting to save their enterprises and of course are willing to bad mouth the online industry as much as they can in order to persuade the masses that such land-based casinos are more proper and culturally fitting than online-based games. The same argument exists in Australia and New Zealand for Pokies venues as well.
Such an argument is weak because it shows that the casino operators really only care about their own businesses and are not trying to understand the direction in which gaming are heading in. There is certainly altruism for their own pocketbooks and the concern expressed for citizens is not based off of any fundamental evidence.
So then what can these casinos do? Well, they cannot stop the Internet of Culture and Things from pervading and developing into all corners of the world. More and more people across the world own mobile devices and are becoming much more socially active in the online world then ever before so trying to control everyone’s actions on their tablets and smartphones is an impossible task.
But what if casino owners could influence culture by making it that any form of gambling done online could be considered illegal, which seems like a much higher likelihood? They would need government at their side and it appears that more than ever lobbyists for such demand are popping up, with people such as Adelson at the forefront ready to write checks.
According to news agency The Young Turks, Adelson has reportedly bribed Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to propose a bill in the Senate that would push the US Federal Court from banning all online gambling regardless if individual states have passed laws that allow the industry to exist. Adelson was reported to have held several campaign fundraiser events for the cause and also held a high-end dinner banquet to raise money for Graham’s supposed cause, charging US$1,000 a plate.
It is difficult to know whether such bribery will continue in the future. Most analysts believe the states will continue making their own decisions regarding online gambling and the issue will not spread to Washington DC. However, if enough power and influence goes into the right hands there could be such a chance. States as of now have their own voting power on the issue so there would take a lot more bribing efforts across the board in order for such a bill to pass, so the topic is definitely negotiable.
In the case of players playing outside of the US such as Kiwis and Aussies, it is hard to determine how such a law would influence them as the details have yet to been made. Locals in New Zealand and Australia at that point would have to check their own local laws.
Whatever the result may be, casinos will definitely push to protect their establishments and it will be interesting to see if the end result comes from a moral and protective decision from the government or one from the government that is based on corruption.