Thursday, December 4, 2014

Whatever It Takes is More Than Money

Did we miss anything?
We are no strangers to the phrase, “Whatever it takes.”  It comes from the lips of Sheldon Adelson, suggesting how passionate he is about making his dream of stopping Internet gambling a reality.  It’s really about how much he said he was ready to spend to make it happen – “whatever it takes.”

But lately the idea that his money talks (and politicians walk…hell, they run) has fallen on deaf ears.  Crony capitalism is getting poor reviews lately.  Other conservative voices have been stepping up to point out the obvious – that making new laws for old (moneyed) friends is not good government.  We still have online gambling in three states and others are poised to join them.  RAWA seems like a dead issue for 2014.  The only major “victory” Adelson can claim is the wimp-out of the AGA.

But still Shelly and his Coalition push on.  Why?  Consider this:  What is, instead of Congress acting on the whims of some rich billionaire, they were acting “on the will of the people?” 

All CSIG has to do is convince the American public that Internet gambling is, in fact, everything they say it is and isn’t.  And since it’s my job to monitor the CSIG’s website and Facebook pages, I get to see another side of the “whatever it takes” mantra.  Only in this case it’s not (just) money, but ethics that gets “spent.”  As in they seem to be depleted of any.

We’ve discussed the ads of the Gang of Four previously (CSIG’s four co-chairs) and found them wanting.  The website, which I consider the main communication vehicle, is kinda dull.  But the CSIG Facebook page is where the action is, and the action is anything but on the up-and-up.  Distortions, misleading, and outright lies – yes, all of that on Blanche Lincoln’s appearance on the Huckabee program to be sure, but also a regular occurrence on the Facebook page. Several times each week they post something negative on a variety of issues that kinda sorta sound bad and evil and close akin to their mission.

So far in December we’ve seen:

A) Some internet gambling site has security issues and is shutting down:
After only a month, Yahoo is shutting down it's Texas Holdem Poker portal due to “changes in supporting technologies and increased security requirements...” which have rendered the game “incompatible, insecure, and no longer functioning correctly
If you read the ENTIRE sentence from the article, which was shortened by CSIG (strategically?), you’ll get a different impression:
Yahoo…will no longer offer its current Texas Hold’em game because “changes in supporting technologies and increased security requirements for our Yahoo web pages have rendered the game “incompatible, insecure, and no longer functioning correctly.” (emphasis mine)
In other words, INTERNAL security, not a terrorism threat.  And that’s STILL not the whole story, as it turns out Yahoo is eliminating all Classic Yahoo Parlor games, effective at the start of 2015.  

Yet, Yahoo Games has nothing to do with CSIG, RAWA, or Sheldon Adelson.  This isn’t the type of gaming he wants to stop, and this isn’t the first time CSIG has confused the issue.  They’ve also ripped on so-called “freemium” games, “Internet Cafes,” and of course, they constantly blend unregulated offshore gaming with what transpires in NV, NJ, and DE as if they’re ”all the same.”

B) Old news is new news (and still wrong):
In a national survey conducted last year, 67% of voters indicated a negative view toward Internet gambling.
This was a survey SPONSORED by Adelson, conducted in only four states (California, Kentucky, Virginia and Pennsylvania), and data gathered before ANY state had started LEGAL, REGULATED online gambling.  Most importantly – it wasn’t a “survey” but “push polling,” designed to provoke just the type of answer they reported.  It’s been bashed before, but check this:
Respondents were “…asked to respond to a ‘competing thematic’ question. This type of question seeks responses to two statements, the first one in this survey described internet gambling as: ‘….simply a natural extension of gambling options in this technological age.’  The second statement suggested:there are a number of key problems and potential abuses with online gambling that do not exist with traditional casino gambling.’ (again, emphasis mine)
On average across the four states, 30% of respondents agreed with the first statement, but 57% preferred the second which argued that internet gambling was different to land based gambling.”
Also, please note that 57% does not equal 67%.  And as an eight-year veteran of marketing research, I can assure you that this biased “survey” isn’t worth the paper it’s written on as far as an “accurate snapshot” of the public real attitudes on this issue.

Failing to live up to projections: Nevada's online poker revenue fell in October to the lowest level since the state began releasing revenue data for its web poker sites. These shortfalls leave holes in state budgets that states can't afford.
Three things here – one, this seems to put their “casino on every Smartphone” argument in the dumpster, huh?  Second, they never seem to post these types of stories when revenues are up – just sayin’.  Finally, the end bit about the budgetary shortfalls is nowhere in the story they link to, and, guess what?  C’mon, guess…OK, here’s the money quote from a June story in USA Today about online gambling revenues
In Nevada, officials opted not to make revenue projections for the nascent industry – or to count on the money in its budget.
I know, shocking, huh?  The revenue isn’t even a part of the budget and it’s causing shortfalls (actually, the biggest hole is mineral taxes due to plummeting gold prices).

Add to all this distortion, confusion, and mendacious “news” the repeated postings of Lincoln’s fact-free five minutes; all of the other co-chairs and their “ads” crying about the children, terrorists, organized crime, and the economy; and the two CSIG ads that make LBJ’s “Daisy ad” tame by comparison.

It’s like the old proverb: “Throw enough mud at the wall, and some of it might stick.”

Except it’s not really mud (it IS brown, but it’s a bit nastier).  THIS is what “whatever it takes” means.  Lyin’, cheatin’, confusin’ and distortin’.  And money bags for everyone that feels like changing sides for the money.

Remain vigilant against their immoral alliance.

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