Sheldon Adelson Doesn’t Understand How the Internet Works

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That’s the only explanation I can muster to explain Sheldon Adelson‘s display of staggeringly irrational argumentation in his latest broadside against regulated online gambling.

Mr. Adelson, who was for online gambling before he was against it, rests his case against regulating the activity on an odd proposition.

As he posits in his letter to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

[T]he main argument from Internet gambling proponents is that we need to legalize online gambling in the United States to regulate it, because the government has not been able to stop offshore online gambling sites from doing business in the U.S., or worse, operating websites involved in illegal activity.

So let me get this straight. Proponents say that technology exists to effectively regulate Internet gambling to stop minors, addicted gamblers, money launderers and organized crime from accessing it. But the technology does not exist to block the unscrupulous foreign websites from targeting those same audiences.

Apparently, the technology exists to serve the needs of Internet gambling proponents, but doesn’t exist to serve the needs of those of us who oppose it.

Yes, that’s right. Because the two technologies he’s talking about have absolutely nothing to do with one another.

One – the technology to regulate online gambling – is a set of tools used to monitor a closed system for abuse like underage play or money laundering.

As an aside, you’d think Mr. Adelson would be optimistic regarding a casino’s ability to weed out such abuse online, as that’s exactly what casinos are tasked with doing at their land-based properties.

The other – the technology to block unregulated sites from targeting American players – appears to describe some sort of hypothetical, nationwide Internet content filter.

(That technology actually does exist, but would probably be less than popular if deployed.)

Again, one has nothing to do with the other. So Adelson is effectively arguing that because we don’t proactively prevent Americans from accessing unregulated online casinos, we shouldn’t regulate online casinos.

Make any sense to you?

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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