Sheldon Adelson’s Anti-Online Poker Crusade – a War on Progress?

This article was posted on January 24, 2014

With various states across the US resorting to state-by-state legalization in the absence of Federal regulation, it is more and more difficult for champions of the anti-online gaming movement to keep things under control, forwarding the interests of those funding them. Indeed, state-level legalization has turned out to be something of a backdoor solution for proponents of legal online gaming and thus far it does indeed look like it has managed to effectively circumvent the obstacles erected in its path on Federal level by various – often live gambling-linked – interests.

Although New Jersey’s 2013 online gaming profits turned out to be quite underwhelming, there is no denying the fact that online gambling and poker are well underway within the Garden State, and their success is pretty much guaranteed despite the rocky start (the sector generated but a paltry $8.4 million since legal online gaming started in New Jersey, well off the pace predicted by scores of experts, lawmakers and even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who’s been known to tout online gaming as a way of saving Atlantic City’s faltering gambling sector).


With opponents of online poker/gambling effectively sidelined by state-level initiatives, and let’s be frank: greed for additional tax revenues, an unlikely champion emerged in billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

Adelson has suddenly become extremely concerned with morality issues surrounding online gaming and he’s apparently begun worrying about the way gamblers spend their monies. Obviously, he’s not really interested in keeping rank and file gamblers out of harm’s way. Despite the dog and pony show he’s put on, what he’s truly worried about is that they may spend their hard-earned dollars online, instead of taking it into his casinos and dropping it there.

Although Adelson’s crusade may seem like a stillborn initiative, doomed to fail from the get-go, a sort of attempt to swim against the current of progress, if there is a single person out there who can indeed do a lot of damage to legal poker, that person has is Adelson.

He has the money and he has the connections: this man can achieve a lot if he puts his mind to it, and even though in the long-run he may indeed be fighting an uphill battle, over the short-run, he can yet do a lot of damage. Oh and he has vowed to spend as much as it takes to derail online poker/gambling.

Although officially, Adelson’s crusade hasn’t yet kicked off, a draft version of what may turn out to be his first one-two punch has already surfaced.

It’s obvious that the people Adelson hired to build up his offensive have been quite busy. The above said draft is that of the Internet Gambling Control Act, an anti-online gaming bill which is looking to go the way of the Wire Act, prompting the DoJ to reverse the position which it’s announced back in 2011 in regards to the said bill. It was the DoJ’s 2011 Wire Act clarification that launched the state-by-state legalization spree which is currently in full swing.

Adelson’s team is looking to attack the problem at its root, and indeed, having the Wire Act amended so that it covers iGaming as well, would be quite a below-the-belt blow delivered to legalization/regulation efforts.

Adelson’s Internet Gambling Control Act builds a complex case, looking to paint internet gaming sites as the perfect vehicles of money laundering, illegal financial transfers and cyber-crime.

The bill is also looking to defeat the notion that technology meant to prevent underage and out-of-jurisdiction gambling can be effectively employed, pointing it out that such systems can be circumvented and defeated through the use of specialized technology.

 The bill does not yet have any official sponsors, but that likely won’t be a lasting problem for Adelson. How fast and how many lawmakers are willing to toss their support behind the Internet Gambling Control Act is solely dependent on how much money the mogul is willing to toss at it to begin with, and given that he’s extremely well-endowed in that department, the alarm bells have to be rung.

Member Login / Register account

Forgot your password?
  • Change Language:
  • Rakeback English
  • Rakeback Svenska
  • Rakeback Dutch
  • Rakeback French