US Anti-Gambling Foe Takes Online Poker Rants Abroad
As the American gaming market moves into the modern era with the introduction of regulated sports betting, some anti-gambling foes are looking to the past with an effort to ban online poker. Former US Senator Blanche Lincoln (R-Arkansas) took to the pages of the Financial Times (subscription required) with a plea to stop the scourge of regulated online poker from corrupting America’s youth.
Lincoln’s diatribe was less-than-accurate and relied on a bevvy of unproven and completely debunked anecdotes about the online gambling industry. For example, Lincoln suggested that the UK online gambling industry was so out of control that six-year-olds were targeted for gambling ads while playing Angry Birds. Her version of the story is thoroughly debunked in a feature on LegalUSPokerSites.com. The site points out that those ads were served up by Apple, not by any gambling operator.
Many gaming industry observers might be questioning why a former US Senator is lobbying against online poker at this point anyways. LegalUSPokerSites.com and CalvinAyre.com, both observed that Sheldon Adelson is likely behind the efforts. He and his wife donated more than $50 million towards efforts to re-elect GOP politicians just days after the editorial ran.
Adelson, who owns a number of land-based casinos, is a long-time opponent of online poker and seems happy to pour money into efforts to stifle it, no matter far out of touch with reality they happen to be.
At the core of her editorial is an effort to have the US Congress reinstate the US Wire Act of 1964 as it applied to online gambling before 2011. In doing so, the Congress would effectively be killing the US online poker and online gambling industries.
As of this writing, there have been no efforts in Congress to reinstate the Wire Act.