Poker world isn’t exactly broken up over Sheldon Adelson’s death

Jon Sofen
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Posted on: January 13, 2021 6:44 pm EST

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson passed away from cancer on Monday. He left his mark on the poker industry, but not necessarily in a good way. As a result, the poker community was far from sad about his passing.

Many comments on social media were quite harsh towards a man who just died. Even Vanessa Selbst, arguably the best female poker player ever, had some cruel things to say about the deceased casino owner.

“The best thing I can say about Sheldon Adelson was that he was such a POS that he unified the two disparate circles in my life–progressive liberals and poker players (in our immense amount of hatred for him). May his death be a sign of better things to come for both communities,” Selbst posted on Twitter.

What did Adelson do to anger the poker community?

Sheldon Adelson has long been an enemy to the poker world. That is because he fought for years to have online poker banned at the federal level. He is one of the biggest reasons for the lack of online poker options in the U.S.

At present, only four states — Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania — have legal poker sites in operation. Michigan, which legalized online poker in 2020, is expected to launch its regulated sites sometime this year, most likely in the spring.

But there are still 45 states left to go before the entire country is playing legal internet poker. And none of those states appear to be on the cusp of passing legislation.

Adelson promoted the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) nearly a decade ago. The bill which he spent years lobbying for would have banned online poker and gambling at the federal level. He was unsuccessful in getting RAWA through Congress, but was highly successful in preventing massive growth of internet gambling around the country.

Adelson was the founder and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp, one of the top casino brands in the world. He owned the popular and luxurious Venetian-Palazzo in Las Vegas, which is also home to one of the top poker rooms in town.

Lobbying to ban online gambling was his way of protecting his own interests. He felt that the growth of internet casinos would be harmful to his land-based casinos. But he was one of the 20 richest persons in the world and left behind over $30 billion in net worth. So, many in the poker community felt he was just being greedy by fighting to ban online poker.

Harsh comments from social media

Due to Adelson’s constant fight to ban internet poker, the poker community seemed to revel in his death. But not everyone. Sean McCormack, who runs Venetian’s rival poker room at Aria in Las Vegas, is one who was respectful of the deceased casino magnate.

“Working in poker I all too well know the hurdles Sheldon Adelson created for US online poker. Although our ideologies did not align, in death we cease arguments and pay tribute. Sands Corp. has employed so many here in #LasVegas. Our city remains grateful. Rest In Peace,” McCormack wrote.

McCormack’s take was in the minority. Many poker players seemed to be happy that Adelson died.

“No we don’t. Sorry. His death does not absolve him from the misery his suppprt of Trump has wrought on millions of Americans and millions of people from other countries impacted by his lunacy,” @jasonssimon responded.

“RIP Sheldon Adelson!!! I hope you’re reincarnated as a malnourished Palestinian whose online poker career is interrupted by constant power outages and Israeli settlers dumping feces on your house,” @BernieWouda1 joked.

Adam Schwartz, co-host of the DAT Poker Podcast, posted a bit of a riddle. The answer, as you’ve probably guessed, is Sheldon Adelson, of course.

Featured image source: Flickr