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Rant: Sheldon Adelson Has a Point About Addiction and Online Gambling
It’s worth stating from the outset that I believe in the freedom for adults to gamble, drink, take drugs and pop oranges in their mouths whilst turning the gas off, as long as their actions do not harm other people.
I think I hold that belief because I don’t like being told what to do. I never have and I never will.
I have also enjoyed myself when partaking in all of the aforementioned habits, not withstanding the orange, and I have received my fair share of pleasure and pain as a consequence.
We all know about the pleasure. It’s a habit of the gambling community to only talk about your winnings. That’s why sites like Hendon Mob only show live tournament earnings instead of live tournament profit.
It fuels the illusion that gambling is all cherries, icing and chocolate sprinkles.
For me, it’s all about the pain. And for this reason I understand where Sheldon Adelson is coming from when he says online gambling is "toxic, a train wreck and a cancer waiting to happen."
A view that has seemingly been backed by residents of California, Kentucky, Virginia and Pennsylvania after Adelson commissioned a poll regarding public feeling towards iGaming in those key states.
Adelson is Worried People Will Get Hooked
When Adelson spewed forth his vitriol he was accused of holding bias because of the potential for iGaming to shave a few million dollars from his brick and mortar EBITDA.
I thought his point was well made when he mentioned, in passing, that he was worth $28.5bn and stands on the precipice of the Forbes Top 10. How much more money does an Octogenarian need?
He is worried that online gambling, and to some extent online poker, will turn young men and women into gambling addicts.
He holds the view that it is far more difficult for this to happen in a brick-and-mortar casino, and it’s this view that I support.
It’s Fast and Easy
I have done my dough in both online and in the brick-and-mortar world and I can testify that it is far easier to blow a large proportion of your money online.
The speed, and ease, that money can pass from bank accounts/credit cards to the online bookmakers is getting quicker each year.
I once found myself in a £30k hole gambling online, mainly through sports betting and poker. I had lost control just like Adelson said could happen.
I was married with a child at the time - a responsible man with a responsible job. If you were to ask me what I thought about online gambling back then I would have told you that it was toxic, a train wreck and a cancer actually eating me alive.
A Ban For Life?
In a bid to sort my act out I banned myself for life from as many sportsbooks as I could find. I got my act together and am now debt free and creating positive cash flow.
Last year, I wondered if I could return to online gambling and this time become responsible. I contacted one of my sportsbooks and asked if it would lift my lifetime ban. It agreed (not my definition of a lifetime ban).
Since returning to online gambling I am in profit only because of my online poker tournament wins. All other forms of gambling have resulted in losses.
The buzz is back, and I feel myself fighting against the demons when I lose. It’s a natural instinct to chase.
I can tell you with all honesty that despite feeling in total control I believe there is a supermodel’s thong between where I stand now and where I stood: £30k in debt and my life in tatters.
They Will Never Take Away Our Freedom!
It was the ‘In-Play’ markets that destroyed me. Well more pointedly, I used the ‘In-Play’ markets to destroy myself.
Yet, despite those harrowing times I still believe that as an adult I should be allowed to make the choice to do it all again.
Sheldon Adelson has the ability to make life very uncomfortable for people who rely on the poker industry to pays their bills. But he has the right to voice his opinion just as I have the right to waste £30k online gambling.
It’s an opinion that I have learned from personal experience has some merit.