By David Anderson
Pity the poor penniless gambler: thrown to the curb by the too-tight-t-shirt bouncer; doused by equal parts rain and beer; puddle-sprayed from the luxury rides of exotic Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s and Maserati’s; drowning in remorseful tears that drip the vestiges of humanity to the grated gutter clogged with advertisements of half-naked women.
OK, the rain-part probably isn’t true. The sun-drenched Vegas strip by day and the debauchery-driven absurdity by night don’t get but 4.19 total inches in an entire year.
But the rest of the abysmal scene is but a slightly exaggerated picture being painted by oneSheldon Adelson, billionaire casino magnate, owner of the Venetian and the Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip.
‘Gambling is a danger to society.’
Not even Ripley’s Believe It or Not could have concocted a more bizarre turn of events.
Just in time for Christmas, here it would appear is a true feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy, all’s-right-with-the-world bedtime story; a holiday spectacular special sure to bring the magic and mystery of an unparalleled miracle to warm your heart right down to the socks you’ve hung above the hearth.
‘Gambling is a danger to society, children, and the poor.’
Can this be the fairy tale we’ve so long wished-upon-a-star to be true – where human dignity and humanity triumphs over greed and power and where principle supersedes pragmatism?
Will the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of the homeless, the tempest-tossed – their discretionary, even necessary, money lost – now not just be so much etched engravings on a statue in a harbor somewhere (insert Hallelujah Chorus)?
‘Gambling is a danger to society, children, and the poor; an exploitation of women, African Americans and Hispanics – all considered vulnerable to the temptations and potential harms of betting.’
Did Sheldon Adelson really say that?
The Adelson who is “best known for building upscale casino resorts in Nevada and more recently in Asia”? The one “whose record-breaking campaign spending in 2012 made him an icon of the new super-donor era”?
Yes. The same.
Has Sheldon redeemed his soul with this earth-shaking announcement? Is this a reassurance that integrity, eventually, will succeed where plunder-for-pocket-lining-
Is this, finally and historically, an example of a rapacious and predatory corporation finding, after extensive soul-searching, its emulatory conscience? Have we here a true hero for humanity? Can this possibly be happening in our life-time?
Hey, shift happens.
Although, as it turns out, not here.
Adelson is not an apologist after all for the disadvantaged, no more than any lobbyist or any government or chamber or business – lobbies, or is lobbied – at any level is a moral authority once funds are accepted from slots to underwrite services.
Adelson is what he’s always been, an indefatigable defender of gambling – just not Internet betting which, although he portrays the latter as a predator upon the poor, it is more – to shine the light of truth upon it and translate all his gobbledygook into English – an unwanted competitor for the gambling “industry’s traditional business model”:
Be the penniless poor pauper outside and alongside the Palazzo gutter but by no means, certainly not Adelson’s means, be not the children of the poor Internet gambling parent.
I mean, think of the kids.
And lifting their lamps to line up outside Adelson’s golden door – to defeat online gaming and preserve casino in-house betting in coming elections – will be the pathetic hallelujah chorus of politicians willing to pipe mega-rich Adelson’s tune in what portends to be a mega-test “of the influence that a mega-donor can exert when lawmakers know he is willing to spend enormous sums to influence elections.”
You can bet on it.