More than 500 command-level officers from the New York Association of Chiefs of Police (NYACP) have voiced their support for the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
The coalition, bankrolled by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands, campaigns to outlaw online gambling in the US on the grounds that it aids criminals, targets the vulnerable and is unable to provide adequate protection for users.
John Grebert, executive of the NYACP, said: “Cops and Congress have warned about how internet gambling sites could be used by criminals, even terrorists, in order to move huge sums of money, thwarting website operators and their regulators.
“This has become a new source of concern among our members as we develop strategies to unravel the funding networks that terrorists use.
“Since 1901 we have been supporting efforts that promote public safety in New York and we hope lending our collective voice to this national effort will put further spotlight on the many security risks associated with expanding internet gambling.”
The news marks more than 500 police chiefs, commissioners, superintendants and other command-level officers from throughout the state of New York now lending their voice to the Coalition’s message.
However many would still consider the one shouting the loudest to be Adelson, who has vowed to spend “whatever it takes” to prevent further legalisation of online gambling.
80-year-old Adelson is one of the richest men in the world. A significant portion of his $38bn net worth has gone towards lobbying and advertising against i-gaming and donations to the G.O.P.
Adelson’s many political beneficiaries have also been recruited, speaking out against online gaming in public and in congress.
Indeed some significant political figures have announced their support for Adelson, despite having previously been in favour of online gaming.
Adelson isn’t behind all the hurdles faced by America’s young i-gaming industry, but his influence continues to play a large part in the way that it is perceived.
Influence that, many would argue, is generated by his cash rather than his arguments – which are seen by the majority of the industry and amongst consumers as hyperbolic scare tactics.
Similarly, morality and good intentions are rarely considered by opponents to be the driving force behind Adelson’s campaign. Again, Adelson’s critics find it more likely his all-out-war against i-gaming has more to do with money.
Much of Adelson’s fortune stems from brick-and-mortar casinos – a sector threatened by the proliferation of online gambling.