Adelson Pressures Spanish Government

Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson’s attack on internet gambling sparked strong reactions from the online gaming industry and players around the world. Poker players are calling for a boycott of Adelson’s Venetian casino in Las Vegas. California attorney and gaming expert Martin D. Owens called Adelson’s remarks¬† “preposterous”¬† and said the attack was “…a very belated and unimaginative rear-guard action.” Globally internet gambling is a $30 billion dollar a year business and online poker accounts for $15 billion worldwide.

Adelson said that legal internet gambling would result in a decline in player numbers at land based casinos and cited a nonexistent ‘European study.’ Owens said that the drop in player numbers is the result of a change in player demographics. Young players do just about everything online; shop, gather news and information and gamble. Owens is not surprised by that younger players prefer to play online and said “Nobody drives an Oldsmobile anymore, either.” Owens cited a study done by Harvard medical school on problem gambling that showed that a majority of online players bet modest amounts of money demolishing Adelson’s contention that online gambling is dangerous.

In an astounding display of hubris Adelson said he will postpone construction of EuroVegas until the Spanish government allows smoking in his casino. In 2011 Spain imposed a strict smoking ban. Studies have clearly shown that smoking in casinos and other enclosed spaces puts employees at risk but evidently Adelson is not concerned with the health of his employees. Spain has a very active and lucrative internet bingo and gambling market and Adelson wants to put an end to online gambling in Spain.

Anti-smoking forces in Spain are circulating a petition that reads “We Spaniards do not want the tobacco law changed. We cannot allow a good law to be changed so that Mr. Adelson can earn more money while Spain becomes poorer.” JDigital, the trade body that represents online gaming companies in Spain said that catering to Adelson’s arrogant demands would have a negative impact on employment prospects in the industry and would also affect the amount the industry spends on advertising and marketing. The group also said that Adelson’s outlandish claims are not based on factual evidence. Adelson’s temper tantrum shows that Spain would probably be better off without his casinos.