In what has to be one of the most controversial things said in a long time in the gaming industry, Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO Sheldon Adelson laid out a whopper on Forbes.com last week. In the article, he presented opinions regarding online gaming in the United States, calling the activity “Fool’s Gold” and expressed his wishes that the US Congress kill the activity immediately. Attacking the growing momentum of legalizing online poker in the USA, Adelman called for an update of the Federal Wire Act to including online gaming.
From the category of “Do as I Say Not as I Do” the casino mogul called gambling online a “societal train-wreck waiting to happen” even though, in Adelson’s opinion, the activity would have no effect on his company at all. Decidedly altruistic, he stated that he’s just looking out for the little guys in the industry, like Native American and racetrack casinos. His take is that when gambling is available in the internet, it becomes available in every bedroom, dorm-room and office in the world with no way to regulate it or deter underage would-be gamers.
Needless to say the outrage in the poker community has been understandably considerable. Calling Adelson out as a “1%er” has been the norm with many pointing out the obvious hypocrisy of gambling corporation CEO calling out another form of gambling as a societal train-wreck. What makes Adelson’s comments all the more interesting is that the billionaire is widely rumored to have donated over $100 million in campaign contributions to various GOP candidates, including Mitt Romney (who didn’t win).
Many in the industry are organizing boycotts of any Sands owned poker rooms, such as The Venetian, or even going so far as to refuse any of those properties any of their business, be it for lodging, food, or shopping.
The Venetian, one of the most popular destinations for poker players in Las Vegas, has been getting shredded on Facebook and Twitter. Normally the social media outlets are there to announce promotions and instead have had to deal with a PR disaster.