Online Gamblers React to Adelson’s Comments

In an article in Forbes casino mogul Sheldon Adelson expressed his opposition to online gambling calling it ‘immoral.’ Adelson would even ban internet bingo. Fortunately Adelson is a lone dissenter in the gaming industry and has a habit of backing losers and lost causes. After the article reaction was swift and severe. Poker players roundly condemned Adelson’s blatant hypocrisy. Adelson warned of a”societal train wreck” if internet gambling is legalized nationwide.

According to Adelson by legalizing online wagering, which three states have already done, there is a risk of widespread gambling addiction. In a response to Adelson’s screed Nicholas Kisberg, the CEO of CardChats.com cited figures from the UK which has a well-established online gaming industry. The UK permits most forms of online gambling but gambling addiction is rare in the UK. Kisberg rightly points out that most online poker games are played for low stakes. Kisberg wrote “On the Internet, $10 is plenty to get you started. But betting $10 is hardly indicative of someone “clicking their mouse to lose their house. Yes, there are higher limit tables. But the vast bulk of Internet gambling is done at the micro-stakes level; with the average spend per hand being less than $0.10. That’s the same kind of poker you play at family re-unions for fun. Maybe we should blame grandma and grandpa for creating compulsive gamblers with their family Gin-Rummy games.” Kisberg cited some solid figures on gambling addiction and wrote “But what is the important problem gambling figure? Surely the terrible disease – as you put it – must have run rampant in the UK where it has been entrenched for so long? According to Gamble Aware, the top estimate is around 0.9% of the UK population having a gambling problem. The US rate? The National Council on Problem Gambling puts it at 2%-3%,”

Kisberg points out other hypocritical stances held by Adelson. He pointed out that Adelson has repeatedly spoken against ‘creeping socialism’ while benefiting from the socialist government in Macau that bans internet gambling. Adelson has also tried to pressure the Spanish government to allow smoking in his proposed Euro Vegas casino which would expose his employees to toxic levels of secondhand smoke. The influential Poker Players Alliance has also weighed in on Adelson’s rant. John Pappas, the executive director of the PPA said “It’s a complete slap in the face to every poker player. It’s a slap in the face to our organization that spent a lot of time educating lawmakers as to why poker is different, not only because we want it to be so but because it is so. Poker is a game of skill. It’s not something we conjured up. It’s not an industry invention. It’s a position that is verifiable. That he seems to deny it calls into question if he really understands the game at all.”

In the meantime there are rumors of a coming boycott of Adelson’s casino operations in the US. It would appear that Adelson’s ill-timed comments have stirred up a hornet’s nest in the online gaming community.