Wednesday, February 25, 2015
An Open Letter to Sheldon Adelson about Online Gambling
Dear Mr. Adelson,
I am admirer of yours. You built great a business empire through your own efforts, of course with the help of Hashem. I greatly support your contributions to Birthright Israel and the wonderful things it does for Jewish youth and the State of Israel and the United States, and for your other contributions to Jews, to Israel, and the United States of America. I say this as Jew and as an American. I mention these things because I am in no way an adversary of yours either politically or in any other type of venue.
I have been involved in the gaming business since at least 2000. I have worked as a manager, market researcher and executive in the business, as an attorney in the business and as a consultant to many different aspects of the business, especially in the areas of business growth and technology. I have also done econometric analysis of traditional gaming businesses to identify the economic impact of casinos on the local and statewide economies, taxes paid, jobs created, etc.
Specifically, I am writing to you because I do not understand what seems to be, from the public perception anyway, your opposition to online gambling. Online gaming/gambling is major growth business that will only continue to get bigger. As I am sure you know, the confluence of social gaming and online gambling, especially considering the area of virtual worlds environments puts the industry in a wonderful position to grow and provide good, high paying technology jobs and opportunities to thousands of people here in the US and all around the world.
I would understand if it was the case that online gaming/gambling could be a substantive moral hazard to people that you and me and many others would be concerned about as a moral issue. I know you are good and moral man, so that would be reasonable. But the fact is that while it is true that any person who is susceptible destructive and addictive behavior could engage in online gaming; it is also true that that same person can and does engage in scores of alternative endeavors that have nothing to do with anything online. And in fact, if it is the intent to help those people, because of the ability to more easily track activities online than offline, targeting those people for help is much easier than if they engage in the alternative offline activities with a moral hazard.
As it stands now, the world is moving ineluctably to more and more online activities, including gaming and gambling. We have the opportunity to grow that business, to regulate that business, to gain public tax revenue from that business, and importantly to generate high quality and high paying jobs here in the US from that business. And if we do it right, we can target any all issues to help those people vulnerable to addiction. And as we all know, good high paying jobs can save a lot of lives.
And one other thing. As you know, the demographic currently going to gambling activities in traditional casinos skews to the older audience. By integrating the new technologies of social gaming, online gambling, virtual world technology and other systems, the casino business could be on the verge of a major new renaissance that will vastly increase business at land based casinos vis-à-vis the integration of online social gaming and gambling, bringing that younger demographic into the traditional casinos.
All I ask is that you consider the opportunities that can help everyone involved in the business as well as the entertainment public, along with adding to our ability to aid those with particular issues implicated by additive behavior.