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Casino mogul vows all-out war on online gambling

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 24th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The United States' 11th wealthiest man and CEO of Las Vegas Sands is declaring all-out war against online gambling. "I am willing to spend whatever it takes," Adelson has declared. To this end, he has hired a flank of lawyers and lobbyists to try to convince Congress to ban online gambling.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "My moral standard compels me to speak out on this issue because I am the largest company by far in the industry and I am willing to speak out. I don't see any compelling reason for the government to allow people to gamble on the Internet and nobody has ever explained except for the two companies whose special interest is going to be served if there is gaming on the Internet, Caesars and MGM," Adelson told reporters.

The Coalition To Stop Internet Gambling, an advocacy group that Adelson hopes to launch, has surprised the casino industry. The industry, as a whole, had been preparing to gear up for a big push into online gambling in states like New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada.

As one of the nation's top political donors, Adelson first openly declared his opposition to online gambling in a June article he wrote for Forbes. He warned that online gambling would cause people to lose their homes. Spending enormous amounts of money on the 2012 presidential election, Adelson is now preparing to use his financial clout to push a legislative agenda connected to his business like never before.

Adelson's campaign against online gambling is a bipartisan effort, headed by former Republican governor George Pataki, together with Democrats Blanche Lincoln, the former Arkansas senator, and Wellington Webb, the former mayor of Denver. "I won't go into the business because it's a moral issue for me," Adelson said about online gambling. "If a stockholder said to me 'your morality can't count when it comes to making money for shareholders,' I see it from a business view point as very harmful to all the companies that go into it."

Internet gambling will hurt young and economically vulnerable Americans, Adelson believes. He says that many of college age will view it as a potential way to get out from under a mountain of student debt.

He also points out that there is no efficient technological way to stop minors or those suffering from alcohol or other substance abuse problems from gambling online. He notes that land-based casinos can prevent issues like money-laundering and stop people who should not be gambling from engaging in it.

Denouncing online gambling advocates as "hypocrites," Adelson says it's because they claim that a tightly regulated online gambling industry can prevent people who should not be gambling from betting money online. At the same time it has proven impossible to stop offshore online gambling sites in a timely manner from operating U.S. facing web sites or criminals from operating web sites involved in all sorts of illegal activity.

"It's the height of hypocrisy," Adelson says. "On one hand, high tech is not strong enough to stop bad people or bad things, but on the other hand, if you say it's a regulation the high tech is strong enough."

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