Pennsylvania has been one of the ten states in the country that has been considering the legalization of the online poker industry. The State House Gaming Oversight Committee chairman Rep. John Payne has been fighting hard to pass the online gaming bill that he proposed and has received support from eleven out of the twelve casinos in the state.
Research conducted by gaming analysts estimate Pennsylvania’s online gaming market to be around $300 million per annum and gaming legislators are pushing for legislators to pass the bill and help the state profit from the revenue generated by the online gaming industry.
While there has been progress on Payne’s HB 649 bill, the progress has been slow over the last three months and the delay has been attributed to the pressure being imposed by Las Vegas Sands chairman and billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s anti-online gaming campaign.
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson launched the Coalition to Stop Internet Gaming (CSIG) and committed to investing his own personal wealth to stop online gaming in America stating that the industry in not properly regulated, giving provision for minors to be exploited and gambling addicts to be manipulated. CSIG has also released a video highlighting the flaws in the online gaming industry which has caused a lot of controversy as the video states that the industry uses Disney like characters to attract minors to the online gambling industry.
CSIG has been accused in the past of running anti-online gaming promotional campaigns that misrepresented facts and portrayed information to mislead the public. Adelson’s campaign has clearly had an impact in Pennsylvania and while it hasn’t succeeded in stopping the bill completely, it has definitely slowed down the process.
Online gaming lobbyists have accused Adelson of having double standards and fighting online poker only to protect the interests of his Las Vegas Sands Corp casinos. There was a min-documentary series recently published on the internet recently titled: “Sheldon Adelson Exposed: Underage Drinking & Gambling. Prostitution” was secretly filmed showing how it was extremely easy for underage gamblers to gain access into Las Vegas Sands casinos and gain access to hard alcohol. The video questioned Adelson’s double standards of trying to stop online gaming to protect the minors but yet having slack practices in his casinos that allowed minors to be exploited.
Adelson has not been deterred by these accusations and has committed to spending whatever it takes to get U.S lawmakers to pass the Restoration of the Wire Act (RAWA) bill that will ban online gaming in the U.S