Sheldon Adelson fighting a Losing War against Online Poker

By now, many poker players have heard of the war that Sheldon Adelson is waging against online poker. The crusty old man has been trying to spread his message through both the TV and press that online gambling is a terrible thing. His key arguments so far? Internet gaming is more addictive than crack and must be stopped before the entire United States population is craving it.

Right away, many people can see the hypocrisy here. A guy who’s one of the richest casino owners in the world claiming that internet gaming will lead to addiction and drain people’s pockets.

As if this isn’t hypocritical enough, then consider this: one of Adelson’s casinos, The Venetian Las Vegas, advertises mobile gaming on its website. With this nifty little service, you can gamble anywhere on The Venetian’s property as long as you’ve got a smartphone. Maybe I’m missing something here, but isn’t this form of wireless play a little like online poker?

Most correctly speculate that Adelson’s hatred of online gaming stems from his fear that it’ll hurt land-based casino business. So this alone is costing the billionaire a fair share of supporters. But even if Adelson wasn’t just trying to protect his own interests, it’s unlikely that he could win this war.

With each passing month, interest in online gambling grows throughout the United States. Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey already have their operations off the ground. And other states don’t want to be left out of of the equation, so they’re also looking at legalizing internet gaming.

It no longer appears that moral high ground is the issue when it comes to online gambling. Instead, states and their voters think about online poker in terms of tax dollars and improvements to schools and cities.

And as for Adelson’s assertion that cyber gaming costs jobs at brick and mortar casinos, well, European countries such as the UK are reporting a rise in land-based casino revenue ever since online gaming was instituted. What this all adds up to is the likely scenario that Adelson is wasting millions of dollars in a losing effort.

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