Sheldon Adelson is on a mission. His goal is to stop United States citizens from being able to access the Internet and play a friendly game of poker. To date, his first campaign against online gambling in 2014 only achieved moderate success.
As the CEO of Las Vegas Sands, Adelson has initiated a Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling and has vowed to spend whatever it takes to make sure US players are protected from themselves. His campaign managed to get 15 state attorney generals' signatures on a letter to leaders of Congress requesting that the Wire Act be amended to prohibit all forms of Internet gambling — including poker.
A majority of 26 signers is required to make the position an official National Association of Attorney Generals policy and use the organization's letterhead. Apparently Adelson's plans were foiled since the letter went out February 4th on plain paper.
It could be a rough ride for Adelson's attempt to curtail online gambling because over the past eight years, more than 40 AGs signed letters opposing Internet gambling twice previously. The numbers today are showing a different result.
"We like to look at it as 35 attorney generals rejected it," said John Pappas, executive director of Poker Players Alliance. "I think we've come a long way. Many of the 15 are from small states without a lot of clout, and I'm certain these 15 will all be looking to Sheldon Adelson for some sort of support down the road."
Although the PPA has continually held a call to action to ask players to reach out to their state's attorney general through social media, phone callsm and e-mails asking them to not sign the letter, attorney generals from three of the nine most populous states did sign the letter. Those AGs are: Greg Abbott of Texas, Pamela Jo Bondi of Florida and Bill Schuette of Michigan.
The bottom 20 states are much less populated and the other signers hailed from those regions. They were Chris Koster of Missouri, Jon Bruning of Nebraska, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, Tom Horne of Arizona, David Louie of Hawaii, Tim Fox of Montana, Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota, Marty Jackley of South Dakota, Peter Michael of Wyoming, Derek Schmidt of Kansas, Sean Reyes of Utah and William Sorrell of Vermont.
The war against online gambling isn't slowing down for Adelson and the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. The coalition released its first television commercial in opposition to online gambling this week.
Adelson tries to paint a picture that is macabre and unreal in his stance against online gambling. He claims that online poker could allow al Qaeda to extract enough untraceable money from the United States in just a few days to fund several 9/11-sized attacks. The commercial goes on to ask, "Why make it easier for organized crime and terrorist groups to operate in the U.S. and threaten the safety of law-abiding citizens?"
The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling was extremely busy this week, calling on the Pennsylvania legislature to pass a bill intended to establish criminal penalties for individuals who are active in online gambling.
Adelson may start with trying to stop Internet gambling, but where does his reign of controlling the government through the use of his personal fortune stop? He is a player in a big game, his actions are not above scrutiny and his reasons are suspect. Beware US citizens, BEWARE!
Image courtesy of Media Salon