US political website Politico is reporting that a pro-online gambling group dubbed "The Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection" has been formed to battle gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson's anti-online betting lobbying group.
TCCOP is being supported by several prominent politicians as well as land based casino giant MGM International. Some of the politicians backing the group include: Jim Messina, Mary Bony, and Kristen Hawn, a partner at Granite Integrated Strategies. Prominent poker advocate the Poker Players Alliance is also throwing their support behind the group as well.
TCCOP's initial action will be to launch a print campaign that expresses the downsides of a federal online betting ban.
Commenting on the launch of TCCOP, MGM International's Alan Feldman (who is backing the coalition) said, “He is using that, and he is going to use that, and we have to argue the facts on our side. He’s not making a secret of his positions. We shouldn’t be secretive about ours. I think we have the best resource. We have the facts,” Feldman said. “He’s playing on people’s fears, he’s making all kinds of claims and making all kinds of accusations that simply aren’t true, so we’re going to stick to the facts and hope that the facts might win out.”
PPA Executive Director John Pappas also commented on his group's support for TCCOP, noting that Adelson's money is buying influence, and that it is important for groups like TCCOP to counter that.
“The concern is that a lot of money can buy you traction, and Adelson has a lot of money," Pappas said. "They are trying to deliver a message that misrepresents the issue, and for those of us who have been following this issue for a long time, we see through the blatant hypocrisy and misrepresentation. The average American may not be familiar with this issue at all and can be taken by some of the PR push that they are making.”