Mr. Wynn’s Internet Gaming Turnaround? By Jeffrey Compton February 4, 2014 at 8:27 am Monday was the busiest day in the history of the CDC Gaming Reports website. Fueled by interest in the Super Bowl over 1,400 people visited the site – with over 2,300 page views. However it was two other stories that caught my eye: Wynn joins Adelson crusade against web gaming (in respected political reporter Jon Ralston’s blog) and from the equally respected Wayne Parry (Associated Press) NJ OKs Wynn for online gambling deal with Caesars. Clearly two distinct directions. Why would Steve Wynn announce that he was now against something after he had gone to some lengths to get legal approval to participate? So I emailed, phoned and Skyped my informed industry friends – and received several answers that boiled down to three theories. 1) Over the past year Steve Wynn has been trying to mend fences with fellow Las Vegas/Macau casino entrepreneur Sheldon Adelson – the most vocal opponent of Internet Gaming. While many in the Wynn organization express a strong interest in the future of the Internet Gaming, Steve Wynn himself was never a fan. In trying to form a better relationship with Adelson he chose not to argue about an issue he really does not care that much about – which Adelson took as complete agreement and called Ralston to tell him about his new ally. When contacted Wynn wasn’t about to overplay any misunderstanding. In the same interview with Ralston Wynn did state that he could change his mind again and was not financially backing Adelson’s national or state-by-state efforts. Wynn’s spokespeople have since stated to both the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Associated Press that the ultimate direction of the company on the Internet Gaming issue is undetermined. 2) When Wynn and Caesars formed the New Jersey Internet partnership their relationship was hunky dory – not friends – but good enough for a business relationship. Then the Massachusetts debacle broke – with Caesars (under the leadership of Gary Loveman) suing state gambling chief Stephen Crosby for allegedly favoring (and even encouraging) Wynn and his Everett project for undisclosed financial reasons. Hard to work with folks who (even indirectly) drag your name through the mud. 3) Steve Wynn is 72 years old and has already accomplished more than 99% of the citizens on this planet combined. While still active in lucrative Macau (where the day-to-day is handled by recently promoted Ramal Aziz) Wynn has abruptly pulled out of Philadelphia, is threatening to pull out of Massachusetts (by creating a condition the state really cannot change) and is probably no longer interested in getting involved in another project of questionable profitability that will involve considerable public and private political infighting. All of this has very little to do with the pros and cons of Internet Gaming – its growth or possible federal and state regulation. And at no time in any discussion did someone tell me that Steve Wynn had a sincere change of heart. Agree or not with Sheldon Adelson’s views (I share his concerns – but do not think prohibition is the answer), like Sheldon Adelson or not (I admire the guy’s success but dislike his tactics) – I never questioned his motives or sincerity. Everyone agrees that Internet Gaming is a serious issue – for the gaming industry, the nation and society. Everyone in the industry will also agree (and are proud) that Steve Wynn is a major leadership force and his opinion on Internet gaming is very important. But that opinion should be based on experience, facts and his considerable wisdom – and hopefully not on whom he likes this month.