Wynn’s new position was reported by Jon Ralston, a well-known journalist who covers Nevada. “This is not a good entrepreneurial opportunity,” Wynn told Ralston. “Where is the business opportunity? The big problem I see is I don’t see the government letting us keep the money.”
With Adelson and Wynn, the forces opposed to online gambling in the U.S. have the two most prominent U.S. casino billionaires on their side. The two companies they run, Las Vegas Sands LVS +0.37% and Wynn Resorts WYNN +2.24% International, are the largest U.S. casino companies in terms of market capitalization and neither of them are participating in the push for online gambling. Before Wynn’s flip, Adelson was seemingly isolated from the rest of the U.S. gambling industry, much of which is now working hard to make online gambling a reality in America. Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, for example, have been actively pushing for online gambling with the American Gaming Association, the casino industry’s Washington lobby group. Online gambling has now launched in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.
Sheldon Adelson Says He Is ‘Willing To Spend Whatever It Takes’ To Stop Online Gambling
Wynn-hotel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Adelson has led the charge against online gambling, saying he will spend whatever it takes to stop it. He has set up his own advocacy group, the Coalition To Stop Internet Gambling, headed by former Republican governor George Pataki, together with Democrats Blanche Lincoln, the former Arkansas senator, and Wellington Webb, the former mayor of Denver. Still, despite his huge war chest, Adelson was seen as isolated in his opposition to online gambling and his moral concerns about it leading to a wave of gambling addiction was seen by some as a bit of stretch for a casino tycoon. Having Wynn, the man who helped reinvent the Las Vegas Strip, somewhat on his side makes Adelson’s effort seem broader and less of a personal crusade.
Wynn told Ralston that he could potentially embrace online gambling again if he smells an opportunity and circumstances change, saying “it’s possible it could change.” Wynn’s position has evolved over time, to say the least. A few weeks ago, he said he was “neither an opponent nor a proponent” of online gambling. Wynn Resorts had even recently moved to be part of an effort to get an online gambling license in New Jersey. Three years ago, Wynn overcame his initial suspicions about online gambling and became an enthusiastic supporter of it. He inked a deal to work with PokerStars, the world’s biggest online poker company, after the company helped convince him they could properly monitor online offerings to stop underage gambling or other illegal behavior. But now, Wynn is no longer convinced. “Do you really think they can stop underage gambling?” Wynn asked Ralston, rhetorically.
A spokesperson for Wynn Resorts tells Forbes that online gambling “does not appear to be a good entrepreneurial opportunity. We would wait until there is a business opportunity.”