As for the European research referenced by Adelson, neither Pappas or anybody else contacted by ABC News was able to discover what he was referring to. "All the evidence I've seen has been to the contrary," says Pappas. In the U.K, he says, where Internet gaming has been a fact of life for a decade, the boom in Internet gambling was accompanied by a corresponding increase in conventional gambling.
Adelson's belief that online gambling is the devil's handiwork, says Pappas, "calls into question why almost every other brick and mortar casino [except the Sands] looks at this as a complimentary offering. Only those who have trouble understanding how to use the Internet would miss the opportunity to bring customers into their casinos via that channel." There are, he says, great cross-marketing potentials to be realized: letting online players, say, accrue reward points that they then can redeem at terrestrial casinos.
Pappas doesn't call Adelson insincere. "I have to take Mr. Adelson at his word," he says, meaning that the CEO views online gaming a bad business (destructive to conventional casinos) and immoral (because it supposedly attracts children and problem gamblers).
Others in the gambling community take a far less charitable view. Angry fans of online poker expressed their ire via Twitter and other social media, one calling Adelson's op-ed "self-serving tosh."
"This is rich," writes another, "billionaire casino owner 'morally against online gambling.'"
Suggests another: "Maybe everyone who cares about online poker should boycott the Venetian?"
The idea of boycott has been gaining steam since 2011, when Adelson first came out swinging against online poker.
Says Pappas of his own organization, "Nothing's being organized by us; but yes, we've heard, certainly, from plenty of outraged players. The fervor has increased since last week, with some saying they will never play the Venetian again."
Would a poker boycott hurt Adelson? Likely not, says Pappas: "Poker's not a big profit center for a casino. Never has been. It's an attraction to bring in a type of customer who will then go on the play the slot machines or the craps table or the sports book."