The national coalition against Internet gambling, founded and funded by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, claims that online gaming will destroy entire families while benefiting terrorists and mobsters.
Adelson’s anti online gambling coalition launched its first video campaign against the growth and spread of legalized online gambling in the US. The video says, “While the FBI is busy defending against terrorist threats and cyberattacks, Internet gambling will give criminals across the world a foothold in every American household, attracting criminal activity not only at home but internationally.” Key members of the coalition are also publishing editorials and issuing press statements claiming that online gambling “is a strategic national threat.”
Last year, Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce, said that online gambling comes with certain risks, such as the “potential for money laundering used for terrorist financing.” Although similar concerns have been voiced in the past, advocates of online gambling legalization referred to Adelson’s video as “irresponsible” and “absurd.”
Poker Players Alliance (PPA) chief John Pappas said: “The notion that licensed and regulated Internet poker would be an attractive conduit for terrorism financing is on its face laughable. There isn’t a shred of evidence to support this, except for far-fetched claims manufactured by this coalition.”
There is nothing surprising about Adelson launching such a video ad attack against online gambling as the casino king has vowed that he is willing to “spend whatever it takes” to prevent online gambling legalization in the country. The online poker community can therefore expect many such video clips in the future, even as 10 US states are considering the pros and cons of legalizing online gambling.
Adelson is determined to nip US online gambling in the bud. The casino magnate became an important figure during the presidential elections of 2012 when he contributed millions to the Republican cause. Adelson’s financial contributions kept Republican Newt Gingrich, the former speaker, in the election race long after it was established that he could not succeed.
Meanwhile, the pressure to legalize online gambling is intensifying. Last week, the Coalition of Consumer and Online Protection was launched and it is on the verge of launching a $250k ad campaign against banning online gambling. Last July, Representative Joe Barton introduced the Internet Freedom Act, which calls for the federal legalization of online poker while giving individual states the right to opt out. Barton had even mentioned that God is for online gambling at a hearing held in December.