“Online gambling is ‘fool’s gold.’ Whether it is full casino gaming, poker only, or anything in between – this is a societal train wreck waiting to happen.” This is what Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and CEO of the largest gaming company in the world, Las Vegas Sands, had to say to Forbes Magazine in June 2013.
While many experts have been predicting that online gaming is the future of all types of gambling, the casino industry itself is divided on this topic. So, who would you put your money on?
The Casino Wars
Evidence of the divide in the casino industry came in the form of a new six-figure campaign against the dangers posed by legalized online gambling, launched by the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling on February 10, 2014. Through this campaign, the coalition emphasizes the possibility of terrorists and criminals using online gambling as a means to launder money. Sheldon Adelson is a strong supporter of this group and this campaign.
This comes hot on the heels of the casino lobby announcing that legalizing online gambling would be its signature issue for 2014. The lobby is supported by major players like Caesars Entertainment Corp and MGM Resorts International. Morgan Stanley expects online gambling to generate revenues worth $9.3 billion in the US alone by 2020.
Casino companies are concerned about the rise of online gambling because of the risk that the internet option will cut into their profits. Adelson has, in fact, stated that he will spend “whatever it takes” to stop internet wagering from gaining ground. Early in February, another big name in the casino world joined forces with Adelson. CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd, Steve Wynn, has expressed his support for the coalition against internet gambling, although he hasn’t expressly joined the coalition.
With the battle lines drawn and both sides boasting weighty opponents, it is time to see where the casino industry is headed.
Land versus Online Casinos
Well, they say that if you are a true lover of legalized gambling, there is nothing to beat the ambience of a brick and mortar casino. How can the online form replace the setting, the excitement that seems to vibrate through the environment, chatting up the dealers, meeting people face-to-face and, on the whole, getting completely immersed in the experience of the casino?
On the other hand, the live version cannot bring the kind of convenience and cost savings offered by online gambling. To top it all off, gaming sites offer unbeatable payout ratios, deals and discounts, all in an attempt to attract more players. Then there is the opportunity to try out free or demo games before you actually bet money.
For now, it seems people are turning towards online casinos where land casinos are not legal. Those who are spirited and love the whole party atmosphere, with music, drinks and camaraderie would never trade the experience of a brick and mortar casino for anything else in the world. Only time will tell how this casino industry war pans out. Shouldn’t people have the freedom to choose what they wish to do with their time and money?