Sheldon Adelson owns about $30 billion, eight casino resorts, a fleet of jets and airplanes, and allegedly, several politicians in Washington, DC.
Through his hearty campaign contributions, Adelson uses his riches to pressure lawmakers into advocating on his behalf, one leading burden in the eyes of the tycoon being online gambling.
The Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) is a piece of legislation Adelson aggressively supports, the bill aims to overturn Internet gambling in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Several GOPers who have benefited from Adelson’s donations are espousing RAWA.
When Pennsylvania State Rep. John Payne (R-District 106) stepped up his efforts to legalize online poker in the Keystone State, Adelson went all-in with an all-out attack directed at the local leader.
Center for Freedom and Prosperity President Andrew Quinlan says enough is enough. In a recent op-ed published on PennLive.com, Quinlan says Pennsylvania voters should determine the legality of online gaming in the state, not a billionaire in Las Vegas.
“Payne’s campaign has earned him one doozy of an enemy, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson,” Quinlan writes. “In order to protect his brick-and-mortar casino empire, Adelson has turned his ire and pocketbook against Payne for daring to propose allowing Pennsylvania citizens to decide for themselves whether they want to partake in gaming.”
Through the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, a group in which Adelson heavily funds, Pennsylvania residents have been subjected to an onslaught of commercial attack ads against Payne.
“Are Pennsylvania kids safe online?” the commercial asks. “Not with Representative John Payne working hard to legalize predatory online gambling. News reports show these predators target our children online, even using Disney-looking cartoons to entice them to gamble.”
Quinlan argues the entire marketing spot is simply a fear-mongering ploy.
“Bragging about corporate cronyism doesn’t go very far. Instead, using poll tested language, Adelson’s coalition drums up exaggerated fears about the online nature of gaming and claims that any phone or tablet can be turned into a casino,” Quinlan opines.
Penn National Gaming opened the first casino in Pennsylvania in 2008. The gaming conglomerate has since expanded its reach in the industry, now owning or operating venues in 17 states and Canada and recently acquired the Tropicana on the Las Vegas Strip.
Penn National Managing Director of Interactive Gambling Chris Sheffield fully supports the legalization of Internet casinos, saying interactive gaming drives land-based visitation and creates additional jobs.
“This isn’t just a room full of computers,” Sheffield said last April. “There are thousands of people employed.”
It begs the question then, “What is Sheldon Adelson’s primary motivation for outlawing online gambling if a state chooses to legalize?”
The Las Vegas Chairman says it’s his ethical obligation to block adolescents, seniors, and those prone to addiction from turning their computers and mobile devices into casinos.
“I don’t see any compelling reason for the government to allow people to gamble on the Internet,” Adelson said when he first initiated his war against iGaming. “My moral standard compels me to speak out on the issue.”