Like Angry Birds? Then you're doomed to become a gambling degenerate unless Congress bans online gambling, according to a new video ad from a group backed by billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
Popular mobile games are the latest casualty in Adelson's scorched-earth campaign against Internet gaming, as the new Web spot, dubbed "Don't Bet on It," deploys an innocent-looking teenager who is really good at losing his parents' money.
"I was playing Angry Birds and then, you know, I just found it," the teen narrates, as images of online blackjack and poker tables flash on screen. "It's a lot cooler knowing that I'm playing a real game, not just, like, Candy Crush or Fruit Ninja."
The message here is clear: Give a child a smartphone and he's at risk of developing a gambling addiction. The tech-savvy, gadget-obsessed pubescent in the ad is portrayed as easily hacking into his father's credit-card account to log into various gambling sites. He quickly goes wild—"Roulette is cool…. Poker is the best!"—despite his apparent lack of knowledge of how to play the games.
The online ad, which is being targeted at "opinion leaders" in D.C.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Las Vegas, is just the latest fear-inducing iteration from Adelson's Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. The group began releasing videos earlier this year as part of a six-figure "awareness campaign," the first of which suggested the practice would not only destroy lives and wreck homes but also help fund mobsters and terrorists.
Expect this issue to flood your browsers in the months ahead. Adelson famously promised last year to "spend whatever it takes" to stop online gambling in the U.S., on grounds it will unspool the moral fabric of America.
Last month, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, both Republicans, introduced bipartisan bills that would restore a decades-old federal ban on certain types of betting and extend it to include online gaming, save a carve-out for horse racing and fantasy games. Adelson's group lauded the legislation. Adelson has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Graham's 2014 reelection campaign.
Several states are also considering legislation that would legalize or loosen restrictions on Internet gambling.
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