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Adelson's Stance Could Damage Online Gambling's Chances In US

Over the past couple of years, land-based casino gambling operators have started to warm to the idea of online gambling regulations in the US. With revenue falling at major gaming destinations such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, developers are looking for new ways to keep their businesses profitable.

The most obvious of those options is Internet gambling. The US is considered to be the largest online gambling market in the world, even though the federal government is currently still attempting to prohibit the activity. The push has been made to end the prohibition, and surprisingly, it is Senator Harry Reid, representing Nevada, that is out in front of the movement.

Reid had always been against online gambling, following the directive of the large political donors from his home state. Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson and Wynn Resorts owner Steve Wynn had long been against regulating Internet gambling, out of fear of losing customers from their land-based casinos.

In recent years, customers have stayed away from the casinos due to the economy. That development has the CEO's taking a different stance. Wynn went as far as to partner with PokerStars, a popular foreign online poker site.

Wynn pulled out of its partnership with PokerStars after the company was indicted for violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Wynn has, however, stayed the course on his commitment to lobbying for the federal online gambling laws to change in the US.

Adelson, on the other hand, dealt a big blow to the future of the online industry last week when he said that he is opposed to regulation. Adelson claimed that he did not believe the proper technology was available to protect against underage gambling. Currently, there are no regulations in place to protect against either underage gambling, or bettors old enough to place wagers online.

The shocking Adelson stance may have set back the industry several years. In the months since the indictment against PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker, momentum has been building in Congress to change the current laws.

That movement was dealt a blow first by the announcement that longtime online gambling supporter Representative Barney Frank was retiring and not seeking re-election, and now the Adelson stance. Couple that with Senator Jon Kyl's recent position not to include online poker regulations in the effort to cut the budget deficit, and the outlook for regulations anytime soon suddenly again looks bleak.

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