Adelson stuns players with online poker stance

Las Vegas Sands President Sheldon Adelson announced his opposition to legalizing online poker last week. In the process, Adelson may have ended his business with live poker in Venice. Hours after the news broke that Adelson was opposed to any federal law that allows states to permit and regulate online poker, players flooded social media with calls to boycott the 11,000-square-foot poker room in the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino.

“Since Sheldon Adelson is lobbying against internet poker, I will no longer be playing in the Venetian Poker Room,” wrote one player on the TwoPlusTwoocom bulletin board. “If you are interested in this issue, I suggest you skip the room.” Richard Mooney, spokesman for the Poker Players Alliance, tweeted to supporters of internet poker over QuadJacks.com radio that he was against Adelson’s stance.

Jack Tracy, who writes for Pokerfusecom, encouraged players to frequently visit casinos owned by businesses that support poker legalization. Marco Valerio, a radio host for Quadjax, said poker players were angry and frustrated. “You’re dealing with a very sensitive community right now,” Valerio said. “Recent developments have provided some encouragement, but now they’re devastated again.”

Let’s face it. The 78-year-old, who has a net worth of $21.5 billion and ranks eighth among the richest 400 Americans on Forbes magazine, doesn’t care what poker players say. The bottom line? As long as Las Vegas Sands continues to make millions of dollars in its holdings in Macau and Singapore, which currently account for about 80 percent of the company’s $2.4 billion in quarterly revenue, Adelson will not think twice about internet poker. Last week, Adelson traveled to Asia to lobby Japan and Vietnam to legalize casinos. Las Vegas Sands is also pushing for a casino site in Miami if Florida legalizes the game.

Before heading to Asia, Adelson visited Washington, D.C., to tell Sen. John Kyle, Sen. Al-Ariz., and Frank Fahrenkoff Jr., president of the American Game Association, that he was against legalizing internet poker. He reportedly told them that he did not think technology could prevent underage gamblers from betting online, and that he was “morally opposed” to internet gaming. The strip competitors recently visited with Adelson to change his tune into a potential industry where many believe gaming revenue is worth more than $5 billion annually. 파친코

Most major casino companies have contracts with online game providers to set up U.S.-based Internet poker websites that will suit Americans once Congress approves the online poker legislation. Ron Leith, a spokesman for Las Vegas Sands, said Adelson’s feelings are his personal view, as the company’s board has not yet established a strategy for Internet gaming.

But let’s face it. The board will not oppose the company’s chairman, CEO, or major shareholder in this matter. Tracy was an online professional poker player until the U.S. Department of Justice blocked American access to the world’s three largest Internet poker websites in April through nine federal indictments. He claimed that Adelson’s views were sour grapes.

“He’s against it because all of his industry ducks aren’t in line to compete in new markets yet,” Tracy said. “I think he’s trying to stop his competitors from passing the bill.” It’s not uncommon for Adelson to have different views in the casino industry than others.

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