Poker Players May Boycott Venetian Following Sheldon Adelson Comments

Published on Dec 14th, 2011

If you haven't heard by now, Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson (pictured) fired a shot across the bow of the internet gambling industry earlier this month, telling Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and the American Gaming Association (AGA) "that he doesn't believe technology can prevent underage gamblers from betting online, and that he is 'morally opposed' to internet gaming," according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

As you'd expect, the online poker industry did not take Adelson's comments lightly, as posters on TwoPlusTwo, representatives of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), and various poker authors struck back. The Review-Journal noted, "Hours after news broke that Adelson opposes any Federal legislation allowing states to license and regulate online poker, players flooded social media with calls to boycott the Venetian's 11,000-square-foot poker room."

By the way, you can Tweet Adelson and the Venetian from this PocketFives thread.

QuadJacks host Marco Valerio told the Review-Journal, "The players know who is on their side and who isn't. They're very conscious of the influence they can exert when united. I think Mr. Adelson may have underestimated this."

Keeping an ear on Adelson's comments is the PPA, the main lobbying voice for poker players in the United States. PPA Vice President of Player Relations Rich TheEngineer Muny (pictured) told PocketFives on Wednesday, "I haven't heard anything about an official boycott. What we want to do is communicate with the Palazzo and Venetian and make sure they understand where the poker community stands on this issue. We believe in liberty and we believe that age verification works in an online system."

Muny continued, "While we expect many players will choose not to patronize businesses where their CEO actively opposes our right to play, and while we are actively informing the membership of Adelson's position on this issue, we're not calling for an official boycott at this time. For now, it's important now to keep the lines of communication open."

Muny added that the PPA does not have any immediate plans to organize a formal boycott by leveraging its membership of over one million. Why? Muny explained, "The first thing that happens is the metric changes from communication for and against to a percentage of business lost. A boycott has to be planned strategically in order to be effective. If a boycott were not well executed, then anything else would be defeated in the process. We have a lot of tools in our toolbox right now; we don't have to grab the hammer every time. We have to optimize this, and that means we all need to tell the Venetian and the Palazzo exactly how we as poker players feel about this."

The PPA did not organize a formal boycott when the Commerce Casino testified against online poker legislation on Capitol Hill. The PPA instead organized an aggressive informational campaign, which was successful. Read more.

Despite Adelson's comments, the AGA reiterated its support of legalized online poker in the United States, telling the Associated Press, "Sheldon has long had concerns about this issue, and it is perfectly within his right to make this decision. However, the AGA, at the direction of our Board of Directors, will continue to support Federal legislation to allow states to license and regulate online poker."

Some in the industry had speculated that Adelson's comments could sway the AGA to pull its support of a Federal online poker solution.

While Adelson may be against players firing up the virtual felts, his counterparts in Sin City aren't on the same bandwagon. You'll recall that MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming have signed deals with PartyPoker to launch an online poker room in the United States. Caesars Entertainment, which owns the rights to the World Series of Poker, has already partnered with 888. And with legal poker rooms like ClubWPT and Zynga in the fray, the market appears to be poised for legalization.

Adelson's influence on Capitol Hill and in individual states isn't clear. One lobbyist told the Review-Journal, "Sheldon is very well-respected for a lot of reasons. The question is how engaged does he get in his opposition. There are multiple other companies that are working this that might have more influence. Sheldon has properties in Pennsylvania and he is looking at Florida, but you have Harrah's, [which] is in many states."

The wheels are already in motion in Nevada to legalize intrastate online poker, and states like Iowa, California, and Florida could soon follow suit. On a Federal level, internet gaming and online poker took center stage in three Congressional committee hearings held in recent weeks, two in the House and one in the Senate.

In a recent exclusive interview with PocketFives, PPA Executive Director John Pappas evaluated that online poker was better than 50-50 to be legalized by June 2012. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest legislative and legal news.


  1. You can't take a ginger seriously. Give us your pot of gold little fella.

  2. the shortsightedness of the brick and mortar casinos with reference to online poker will never cease to amaze me. Why do you think your casino can support an 11,000 sq ft poker room? The Poker boom. What created the poker boom, online freaking poker. They really see it as a threat when it's actually a boon. Harrahs will find out at the next WSOP.

  3. hes probably right fwiw

  4. I can't wait for the first online Venetian Deepstack Series.

    Originally Posted by FLUSH634 View Post

    I can't wait for the first online Venetian Deepstack Series.

    ^^ this

  6. Yes, yes little fella gimme ur pot o gold...

  7. How many brick and mortar poker rooms do you think there would be if there never was internet poker?...I can tell you most casinos had none before Chris Moneymaker... And the internet made Chris Moneymaker.Why else do you think that Binion's Horseshoe was the center of the poker universe and not one of the largercasinos. I'm so glad that the loudest opponents of internet poker aren't being paid for their positions. (sic)

  8. Does he realize that Max Katz had action on 20% on his Venetian Deep Stack field this summer?

    “that he doesn't believe technology can prevent underage gamblers from betting online, and that he is ‘morally opposed’ to internet gaming,” I bet he doesn't trust Amazon or Ebay either LOL. Does he even know how to use a computer? He looks withered imo.

  9. It's time for another Las Vegas Casino to offer a similar Mega Stack tourney schedule and take away the poker business from the Venetian... If the CEO is this out of touch with it's consumers then it's truly time to move on.

  10. Greedy maniacal two faced hypocritical little f*ckin' ginger leprechaun... haha

  11. Some people just need a high the face, with a chair

  12. I've been playing at the V on a fake since I was 12

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