Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Adelson the Hypocrite in His Own Words

I know, I rant a bit.  I’ve been trying to make the case that ALL of Sheldon Adelson’s “passionate” arguments against online gaming are hogwash because he claims to care about how families can be hurt by it.  In recent interviews he has spoken on how he saw gambling affect his own family as he was growing up, and some articles have made this look “favorable” and somehow defend/excuse Adelson’s position against online gaming, as if his own involvement in gambling is non-existent, or at the least, OK. 

Here’s Adelson in his own words, talking about his father, who was a frequent visitor to the ponies:
"…with whatever money he had."
"He was poor, but he loved to gamble."
"I saw the cost of a family immersion into losing money on gaming."
"When I look at people like that, I see the faces of my parents."

Remember - all this anguish somehow pushed him INTO the gaming business instead of fighting AGAINST it.  All he is doing now is protesting (feebly) against ONE FORM OF DELIVERY of gaming (online) – he’s certainly not doing anything else to help those poor, blue collar, working families by making gaming less accessible in his own casinos, either here or worldwide.

Yes, I rant.

But here are just a few of the things I’ve pulled off the Internet just today to show where Adelson, if he TRULY felt this way, could do things differently (and leave online gaming alone).

We all know now that in Vegas, slots are King.  More revenue comes from the slots than all the table games combined.  As far as payback, common wisdom is that slots are looser downtown, and the worst odds are found on the Strip.  Further is the notion that the luxury hotels are tighter still, as this comment from “Las Vegas 4 Newbies” discusses:
“The newer and more luxurious hotels, have the poorest overall slot payout ...especially on under $1 machines. The poorest then would be the Bellagio, Venetian, Mandalay Bay and new Wynn Las Vegas.” 

The Venetian (owned by Adelson) has more than 2,200 of those tight slots, and how do people feel about the payback percentage there?  Feel free to check the comments on sites like TripAdvisor and see how Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public feel about the Venetian’s lousy slots” for yourself, but here’s just one comment:
Sat and played a few different slot machine from the $1 on down to .01 and noticed that not only was I not winning anything but nobody else around me was winning anything as well. It appears the slots are too tight and need to be loosened up just a little bit to make it fun for the middle class gambler.

Hey, isn’t the “middle class gambler” one of those who Sheldon said might be hurt from online gaming?   But it’s not just Vegas.  As many of you know, Adelson makes a buttload of his profit from his Macau casinos.  The gaming climate is certainly different in Macau, as table games (especially Baccarat) are the players’ favorites.  But that is changing, and guess how?  And who?  In a report that discusses the change, we note the following:
The Venetian Macau – This luxury resort, owned by Las Vegas Sands, is located on the Cotai Strip. Boasting over 3,000 slot machines, the Venetian has the highest saturation of slot machines in the region.

Emphasis mine, of course.  And I just LOVE the note at the bottom of the report:
A Google Play download simulating Macau slots is available for Android phones and tablets of version 2.2 and higher. The app is free and features Macau-like imagery and exciting graphics. A link to this download can be found at the region’s Slot Machine HD Facebook page.

OMG – this makes slots available to every cell phone, and didn’t someone once say that he was bothered by this?
 “The thought of turning every single one of these into a casino bothers us.  It is a vice.  It doesn’t need to be everywhere.”

Just sayin’ of course.  BTW, I just started reading “Addicted by Design,” the book that looks at how slots are designed to keep players “in the zone” (and to take their money).  One review calls it:
"A fascinating, frightening window into the world of gambling in Las Vegas and the technological innovations that deliberately enhance and sustain the 'zone'--the odd, absorbed state for which extreme machine gamblers yearn. An astute and provocative look at addiction and its complex moral, social, and emotional entanglements."

Sure hope there’s a chapter on Sheldon.  Oh, two more things:
  • Gambling addiction is a serious issue.  To their credit, Las Vegas Sands Corp. is a Community Sponsor for the Las Vegas Problem Gaming Center, as well as supporting the National Center for Responsible Gaming and the National Council on Problem Gambling. But given Sheldon’s billions, why isn’t EVERY Problem Gaming Center across the country funded by his largess?
Side note here - it was the National Center for Responsible Gaming who stated (from a study): the results do suggest problem gambling is not as common among Internet gamblers as the speculations and the consequent conventional wisdom suggested.
  • I’ve heard lots of stories about gamblers who lost it all at Harold’s in Reno or the Horseshoe in Las Vegas, and the benevolent staff (or owners Harold Smith and Benny Binion) gave the poor sucker airfare home.  Anyone hear of Sheldon or anyone at the Venetian doing this?


Hypocrite.

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