Thursday, May 1, 2014

Boycott the Venetian?

If you’re a live poker player or a online wannabe, you are no doubt aware that the man who owns the Venetian Hotel/Casino (and many other gaming properties) – Sheldon Adelson – is behind the recently formed Coalition to Stop Online Gambling, and the power (spelled m-o-n-e-y) behind the politicians launching anti-online-gambling legislation in the US House and Senate.  You may also be aware that there was a boycott of Adelson’s properties last year by individuals who either would like to see online poker legalized in the USA or think Sheldon’s full of shit, and there is talk of another boycott this year.

So, do you boycott, or not?

I’ve been involved in a couple of online forums where this subject has popped up, and it’s not as cut and dried as you might think.  Face it, ANYONE can CHOOSE to do or not to do ANYTHING for ANY reason.  If it pisses you off that Adelson is a hypocrite about this issue or it bugs you that a rich guy can buy legislation, then so be it, and do what you have to do.  I've always been a person of principle, even though it's cost me a job or two, potential customers, friends, etc. If I had plans to play in Vegas this year (I don't, so it's academic), I would avoid going to the Venetian.  It’s pretty easy for me to boycott in this case. 

But what about others who might be hurt by the boycott?  Some folks have said that Adelson will hardly feel the affect of a boycott of the poker room (he makes wads in every corner of the casino) and it would hurt dealers and other employees.  Heck, a slowdown might cause him to pull the poker room completely and put in high-stakes slots or something else that makes him even more money, so, the logic goes, a boycott would be counter-productive.

And I’d agree if the ONLY thing a boycott affects is ties to money.

Obviously, the idea of boycotting goes beyond finances.  It’s the principle of the thing.  The cause.  The idea.  The change.  And it does not happen if things happen as they always have.  A boycott can raise awareness, get people talking, get more people involved, cause pressure, cause change.

If NO ONE takes that FIRST step, nothing happens.  If a few begin to take a stand, then, that’s a start. Where it goes from there depends on everyone else.

I can easily say “boycott” because I won’t be playing anywhere this summer.  But you?  It’s your call.  Do what you believe in.  And in closing, here's something I posted on one of the Facebook forums (which is why it's in blue - gawd, I hope I'm not in violation of some privacy law or something...)
  • I have to admit that one of my personal boycotts is "effective" only in that it gets people talking - I've boycotted Wal-Mart for more than 20 years. People ask about it, and I tell them that the ONLY way that "the Wal-Mart syndrome" will stop gutting small town businesses is if EVERYONE STOPS SHOPPING THERE.  Eventually this will happen (maybe not everyone, but enough people will go elsewhere).  They’ll go elsewhere because they’re tired of Wal-Mart’s prices or shoddy quality or arrogant attitude or some other reason, but go elsewhere they will.  They always do.  Don't believe me? Ask Mr. Sears or Mr. Roebuck.  Things change.  People cause change.  One person at a time.

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