This transmogrification is called poacher turned gamekeeper, and it is not at all unusual. Another famous case is gang leader turned Christian evangelist Nicky Cruz
. Sheldon Adelson is in a different class from these two men, certainly a different financial class, because having amassed a fortune of over $26 billion
, the man who made his big bucks building and running casinos has launched an anti-gambling website
. Why would he do this?
Mr. Adelson is now nearly 80 years old, so one possibility is that he is losing his marbles, or maybe he isn't. Online gambling is now an enormous business, poker especially is played by people of all ages worldwide round the clock, day in, day out, for nano-stakes and mega. This is something with which the casinos can't compete, especially at the bottom end.
How many people can play in a poker tournament? At a casino, maybe a few hundred. For the really big events, more. In December 2011, PokerStars ran a tournament
with 200,000 entries. (TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND). With a buy-in of one dollar. How can the real world compete with that world record, which has already been broken?
Then there are the bonuses — take a gander at PokerSites Dot Com
There are also freebies, again check out the same site or one of the big affiliates like RakeTheRake or RakeBack.Com
. While high rollers and regulars may find a "comp" or two in Las Vegas, how can the big casinos compete with this?
It may be true as Mr Adelson's new website claims that Internet gambling is "a societal train wreck waiting to happen," but it has now been around for over a decade, and if gambling does ruin lives, so do alcohol and drugs, not to mention drug prohibition
. Whether or not gambling is ruining lives, it is ruining the economy, but it is not the housewife squandering her child allowance or the treasurer of the local social club pilfering the members' subscriptions that is the real problem here, rather it is the gambling that goes on in the City of London, Wall Street and other financial centres regardless of 1929, Black Monday or the more recent crashes and scandals. These are the people who are plucking the fruit from David Cameron's magic money tree
If Mr Adelson wants truly to save society from the train wreck of gambling, he should direct his attention to these financial casinos, because most people — be they poker players or other — gamble responsibly on-line in the full knowledge that if they lose more than they can afford there will be Hell to pay. But when the banks gamble and lose, it's us little people who are left to pick up the tab.