Sheldon Adelson & RAWA Take Center Stage At Republican Jewish Coalition

Posted on March 20th, 2015 by Jon Pineda
Sheldon Adelson 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition

The Republican Party’s 2016 frontrunners are once again heading to Vegas to make their pitches to Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire GOP supporter who wants Internet gambling banned. (Image: casinorelease.com)

Sheldon Adelson will be courted once again by prominent 2016 GOP presidential candidates during next month’s Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Spring Leadership Meeting.

The conference will be held at Adelson’s Venetian Resort and Hotel in Las Vegas and will bring in many of the Republican Party’s most influential names, from 43rd President of the United State George W.

Bush to up-and-coming GOPer Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). The political weekend will run April 24th to 26th, and while the purpose of the event is to discuss important conservative issues for the Jewish-American community, a larger and more critical underlying theme will be the pandering on the part of candidates to get in Adelson’s good favor.

Worth some $30 billion as the chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Adelson is a leading advocate for the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), an amendment to the federal criminal code that would effectively ban all forms of online gambling. For lawmakers to secure his financial backing for the primary season, the winning candidate is expected to be one that fully-embraces a pro-RAWA position.

GOP by the Candidates

The 2015 Spring Leadership has booked many of the biggest names in the Republican Party. From #43 to current Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and 2012 GOP presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, all eyes in the political arena will be gazing at the star-studded convention.

This year, Adelson and the RJC will hear from additional White House aspirers, including former Texas governor Rick Perry. The two-term governor and 2012 candidate is thought to be on Adelson’s shortlist as Perry has been a strong opponent to Internet gambling.

Last March in a letter to Congress he said, “Allowing Internet gaming to invade the homes of every American family, and be piped into our dens, our living rooms, our workplaces and even our kids’ bedrooms and dorm rooms, is a major decision… Congress needs to step in now and call a ‘time-out’ by restoring the decades-long interpretation of the Wire Act.”

Sen. Cruz will also address the RJC audience, another Texan who has expressed interest in the Oval Office. Cruz hasn’t directly tackled the topic of Internet gaming or RAWA during his first two years in Congress. Indiana Governor Mike Pence has also tossed his name into the 2016 hat and is scheduled to speak next month. Like Perry, Pence is pro-RAWA, sending a letter last May to the Indiana Congressional Delegation asking state lawmakers to avoid bringing iGaming legislation to his desk.

RAWA Mania

At the 2014 Spring Leadership Meeting, early White House contenders spoke, most notably NJ Governor Chris Christie. Responsible for bringing Internet gambling to his state, Christie stumped in a desperate effort to clear the air with Adelson. Several state lawmakers in Jersey have been trying to bring PokerStars to its network, but the company’s approval has been long-delayed, Christie’s doing according to some political pundits.

Among the other 2014 RJC speakers thought to be mulling a run for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Jeb Bush: the former Florida governor was anti-gambling during his two terms. Throughout his governorship, Bush advocated against both land-based and Internet gaming.

Scott Walker: the current Wisconsin governor adamantly opposes online casino games, saying no iGaming legalization will be passed during his terms.

John Kasich: the current governor of Ohio, Kasich directly appealed to Adelson during his speech by saying, “In Ohio, we’re no longer fly-over country, Sheldon. We want you to invest.” Although he moved to create racinos, Kasich hasn’t embraced Internet gambling.

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