Andy Abboud Melts Down at IGaming North America Conference

    Sheldon Adelson’s Shill Spokesman Craps Out in Moderated Debate — Calls Opponents “Twitter Creeps,” then Admits to being “Lost” on High-Tech Issues as Hundreds in Audience Gasp in Disbelief     Within the first few minutes of his opening remarks, I actually felt sorry for Andy Abboud. After all, the Senior Vice-President of Government Relations for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, and longtime loyalist to Sheldon Adelson, appeared to be a good sport.  Earlier today, he courageously entered a lions’ den at Planet Hollywood, taking a hot seat directly opposite Caesars Interactive Entertainment CEO, Mitch Garber.  No doubt, Mr. Abboud knew he wasn’t likely to win over any converts among this relatively sophisticated crowd, comprised almost exclusively of hard-core supporters of legalized and regulated online poker inside the United States (and to a lesser extent — casino gambling and sports betting). Mr. Abboud started off quite well.  In fact, after listening to the first quarter of the debate, I thought Mr. Garber, who was arguing the pro-online poker side, had fully met his match.  Mr. Abboud expressed his concerns about legalized online poker effectively, and even managed to land a few talking points.  As I watched all this, hanging on every spoken word from the fifth row of giant conference room , I mused to myself that I’d like to meet Mr. Abboud afterward.  He seemed cordial, respectful, and appeared to have even done some homework. But as the 45-minute debate continued, it became painfully obvious that if Mr. Abboud had done any homework, he’d been studying the wrong textbook.  Adelson’s longtime spokesman made at least three monumental gaffes, two of which brought gasps of disbelief from many who were sitting in the audience, most of whom paid up to $1,600 to attend the three-day conference mixer. About midway into the debate, Mr. Abboud talked about a high-tech presentation he attended which was about online poker.  The presentation provided information about industry safeguards, security, operations, support, and other facets of the details that go into running an online poker site.  As Mr. Abboud was telling his story, on his own and without provocation, he admitted “they lost me,” causing astonishment among many in the crowd.  Just to make it clear — the person debating about online poker’s impact, the person who cites concerns about underage gambling, addiction problems, money laundering, and so forth says “they lost me,” when the industry safeguards were explained to him?  Unfortunately, the follow-up question no one got to ask was, “so then why are you up there telling this industry’s own experts about their business?” Next, there was the blatant lie told by Mr Abboud which few people in the audience seemed to catch.  Once again, without any provocation, speaking about the Sands Corporation which owns The Venetian, Mr. Abboud said “our position (against online poker) has always been consistent.”  Oh really?  Has it?  Many of us remember very well a hugely-successful poker event held at The Venetian in February 2010.  I was present.  It was called the “North American Poker Tour,” which just so happens to be owned and operated by the online site PokerStars.  By the way, The Venetian did a … Continue reading Andy Abboud Melts Down at IGaming North America Conference