The Chief Executive of US betting group the American Gaming Association has addressed the anti-online gambling stance of AGA member and Las Vegas Sands casino group owner Sheldon Adelson, saying that his group is staunchly opposed to the magnate's position on the matter.
The comments by AGA CEO Geoff Freeman came as he addressed the National Council of Legislators From Gaming States, where he was the keynote speaker. Freeman went on to insinuate that Adelson's anti-online lobbying group was spreading lies about the industry.
Addressing the group Freeman said, “The AGA strongly opposes (Adelson's) position. We appreciate Las Vegas Sands’ support of our organization and their membership, but we strongly oppose their approach (to Internet gaming). We no longer have to debate about do we want online gaming or do we not want online gaming. Online gaming is here."
"The question is, are we going to regulate online gaming, in a way to protect minors, prevent criminal activity, reap tax revenue and other benefits, or are we going to allow the black market to continue to thrive?”
Freeman also commented on his group's future agenda, noting that the AGA will work to fight online gambling prohibition.
“For the foreseeable future, the AGA’s efforts with regard to online gaming are going to be focused on preventing prohibition," the executive said. "What’s done at the state level, in terms of compacts or whether states have poker-only or all games online, I’ll leave that to other interested parties."
"Our organization’s focus is on making sure that states have the ability to move forward. When it comes to compacts or poker-only, none of that will matter anymore if the other side is successful in getting prohibition through Congress.”
Sheldon Adelson's Coalition to Stop Online Gambling was formed last year and has been lobbying politicians and hitting the airwaves to spread negative press regarding the online betting industry, claiming that the industry makes underage and problem gamblers vulnerable to being exposed to big losses, and indicating that other seedy acts are associated with cyber betting. Many of these claims have been refuted by unbiased studies, and even some US politicians have grilled Adelson's group about their potential hypocrisy on the issue.