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May 11 2014

Adelson Spending Huge at State Level Too

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson spent almost a hundred million dollars in the last presidential election, much of it to help Newt Gingrich, but he’s now very busy funding politicians at the state level as well in order to achieve his goal of banning all online gambling in the United States.

But less noted at the time was Adelson’s largesse in Florida, where he contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to political committees supportive of Gov. Rick Scott (R). Adelson also gave $2 million to the Republican Governors Association and directed millions more to candidates for attorney general and other state-level offices across the country.

Many of the beneficiaries of Adelson’s state donations are now siding with the billionaire as he seeks to outlaw a practice he views as a threat to the economic health of the casino industry on which he built his fortune.

Scott, who is facing a competitive reelection campaign this year, sent a letter late last month to congressional leaders at Adelson’s request calling on lawmakers to prevent states from legalizing Internet betting, saying the practice lets gambling “invade the homes of every American family, and be piped in to our dens, living rooms, workplaces and even our kids bedrooms and dorm rooms.”

The efforts by Adelson, who has vowed to play a big role in boosting another Republican for the White House in 2016, reveal the unusual role being played by the GOP mega-donor as he balances a largely conservative ideological agenda with his business interests. In doing so, he has triggered what may become one of the costliest lobbying battles of the year, in Washington and state capitals, as he combats rival gambling companies favoring a move to the Internet…

The bipartisan coalition is designed to help Adelson, who controls Las Vegas Sands Corp., resist a push by rivals such as MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment to sell state legislators and governors on the expansion of gambling online as a potentially lucrative source of tax revenue. Adelson and his team are shaping an aggressive counteroffensive, with television ads and high-priced lobbyists, to argue that Web-based gambling would hurt children, invite criminal activity and produce little actual revenue for the states.

Adelson is “playing three levels of chess,” Lehane said in an e-mail­, including “mapping the terrain to determine who are the key players; assembling the right team that is purple in terms of overall blend; and focused on the disciplined bi-partisan/non-partisan message of kids safety.”

Oh yes, the age-old excuse for nearly every authoritarian policy — “protect the children!”

12 comments

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  1. 1
    colnago80

    Apparently, ole Sheldon is also prepared to donate to Democrats who agree to support his proposal to ban Internet gambling. One has to say this for Ole Sheldon, unlike the Koch brothers who make every effort to cover their tracks, he is quite open and above board about what he is doing. The arrogance of power.

  2. 2
    Michael Brew

    But, hey, at least all that big spending won’t lead to corruption or the appearance of corruption, right?

  3. 3
    Pierce R. Butler

    Imagine a politician who was vehemently opposed to online gambling – and to Israel’s human rights abuses.

    Would she get a penny from Adelson?

  4. 4
    colnago80

    Re #3

    Imagine a politician who was vehemently opposed to online gambling – and to Israel’s human rights abuses.

    It’s too bad that the Government of Israel doesn’t take a page out of the Assad pere/fils playbook and impose Hama Rules on the Palestinians. That would give the Butlers of the world something to really whine about.

  5. 5
    Modusoperandi

    Don’t worry, Ed. As the Supreme Court tells us, the only kind of corruption is quid pro quo, or “something for something” corruption, so this is fine.

  6. 6
    Marcus Ranum

    @modusoperandi – but there’s no such thing as a free lunch, either!! Riddle me that!!

  7. 7
    tsig

    If you fashion your laws for kids then you’ll have a society only fit for kids.

  8. 8
    Area Man

    It’s a good thing no child has ever suffered because their parents got addicted to gambling in a brick-and-mortar casino.

  9. 9
    neike

    @colnago80 You’re comparing Israel to a dictatorial country. Subconscious betrays you?

  10. 10
    mikeyb

    This is a textbook case of the new Citizen United oligarchy which we are now living in. Adelson is buying off politicians left or right to protect his Las Vegas casino profits from the threat of online gambling. While there may be independent arguments to limit online gambling, to Adelson this is completely about protecting his bottom line. That’s great another 80 year old plutocrat asshole pushing his weight around just like the LA Clippers owner.

  11. 11
    colnago80

    Re neike @ #9

    The fact that Israel hasn’t imposed Hama Rules is evidence of the fact that they’re not like Syria. Of course, to the Butlers, Gotts, Ranums, etc., they are worse then Syria.

  12. 12
    Crimson Clupeidae

    These are the same ‘small government’ and ‘too much regulation on business’ republicans, right?

    I do wish they would keep their stories straight more than a few minutes. I get dizzy from all the flip flopping and 180s….

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