As billionaire casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson continues to push against the legalization of online gambling in the United States, a number of groups have vocally opposed his initiative. In the latest development, three state lottery directors have made their positions clear – stating that decisions on gambling should be left to individual states which could stand to benefit enormously from the revenue generated.
In a joint statement, Jeffrey R. Anderson (Idaho Lottery), Stephen Martino (Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency), and Charles McIntyre (New Hampshire Lottery) explained how lotteries have helped local communities and why the proposed ban would be detrimental, as well as infringing on the rights of states in deciding such matters for themselves and doing what is in their own best interests.
They have echoed the sentiments of the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (a group that includes rivals to Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp such as Caesar’s Entertainment and MGM Resorts International) which counters the group formed by Adelson, the self-explanatory Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
The statement said, “We are united in our belief that this should not be a federal ‘one size fits all’ decision. For Congress to pass a sweeping nationwide ban would be a devastating blow not only to lotteries but to everyone impacted by their contributions.” They put forward the argument that in 2013 alone, the 44 lotteries operating in the U.S. raised roughly $20 billion for good causes, such as state education, as well as improved public services.
The statement went on to say that Sheldon Adelson’s bill would impose a sweeping nation-wide ban on online gambling that would trump individual state’s ability to implement a well regulated state-based system. The directors argue that outlawing online gambling wholesale would not necessarily halt the practice, as players would be pushed to an unregulated online environment, the domain of black-market sites. A line on the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection’s website sums up this point quite succinctly: “A congressional ban on internet gaming would allow the black market to flourish.”
The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries made their stance clear in April, adamantly opposing Adelson’s bill and giving support to the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection. The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, meanwhile, has garnered support from conservative lobby groups and faith-based organizations, many of which are ideologically opposed to gambling in general.