Many experts believe online
wagering is the future of gambling, but the casino industry is increasingly
divided on the issue.
The latest evidence of the
split came Monday as the Coalition to Stop internet Gambling launched the first
commercial in a six-figure campaign warning of the dangers of legalised internet gambling. The coalition is emphasising the possibility that criminals
and terrorists may use online gambling to launder money.
The group has support from
casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands. Adelson is the
11th-richest American, according to Forbes.
Adelson has said he is
willing to spend "whatever it takes" to stop the spread of internet
Getting into the new market
Meanwhile, the casino lobby
has made the legalisation and regulation of online gambling its signature issue
for the year. Major members including Caesars Entertainment Corp. and MGM
Resorts International are taking steps to get into the market.
Proponents formed their own
group, the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection, which is expected to
launch its own six-figure ad campaign targeting Washington, DC, decision
"The coalition will
operate exclusively at the federal level – encouraging Congress to embrace
regulation as the best means to protect minors, detect money launderers and
eliminate a dangerous black market," American Gaming Association President
Geoff Freeman said in an e-mail to his board last week.
Read: Gambling addiction
Spectre of corruption
The new anti-online
gambling ad features stock scary-voice narration and starts with a black and
white shot of two men shaking hands in silhouette. "Right now,
disreputable gaming interests are lobbying hard to spread internet gambling
across the country," the ad warns.
companies have regarded the rise of internet gambling warily, wondering whether
it will cut into profits from brick-and-mortar casino companies or revive the
spectre of corruption that the industry worked so hard to shed in the 1980s and
Future of online gambling
Morgan Stanley has
predicted that by 2020, online gambling in the US will produce the same
amount of revenue as Las Vegas and Atlantic City markets combined: $9.3
At least three
congressional bills related to online gambling have been introduced this year.
Two lawmakers introduced
bills over the summer that would legalize some form of internet gambling
nationwide. This fall, Rep. Jim McDermott introduced a bill that would tax
federally sanctioned online wagering.
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Gamblers wanting to make
wagers from the privacy of their homes have had few options in recent years.
The federal government cracked down definitively on internet gambling in 2011.
But the same year, the U.S. Justice Department issued a ruling making online
gambling legal so long as it's permitted on the state level.
Congress flirted with an
online gambling bill in 2012, but industry infighting and partisan disagreement
ultimately doomed it. When that legislation failed, states began moving ahead
on their own.
Nevada, New Jersey and
Delaware have legalized some kind of online gambling, and at least 10 other
states are considering following suit, according to a survey conducted by
Gambling Compliance, a group that tracks gambling-related legislation
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