Sheldon Adelson recently hosted the Republican Jewish Coalition at his Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. And some of the Republican Party’s most powerful politicians took front and center stage during this leadership meeting.
They included prominent Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor and GOP Presidential dark horse Scott Walker, famed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ohio Governor John Kasich. And all of these men were in Vegas to do one thing: kiss Adelson’s butt.
Adelson, who contributed over $93 million to various Republicans during the 2012 election year, is the most powerful GOP donor as we march towards the 2014 midterm elections and 2016 Presidential Election. Given that politicians are often for sale to the rich, the Las Vegas Sands Chairman has no shortage of Republican suitors.
In fact, the Republican Jewish Coalition took on the feel of several handsome princes trying to win the hand of a beautiful princess during a ball. Only, in this case, the beautiful princess is a wrinkly, 80-year-old man with a $40 billion fortune and a vendetta against US online gaming. The latter certainly isn’t good for those Americans who want to see legal online poker and casino games spread to their state someday.
This is especially the case when you consider how blatant some of the Presidential hopefuls were in their attempts to woo Adelson. As the Washington Post reports, Kasich basically addressed his entire speech to Adelson, acting as if there wasn’t a giant room full of people. Walker may have won favor by giving the Hebrew meaning of his son Matthew’s name and discussing how he displays a menorah at his home. Christie attempted to appeal to the pro-Israeli casino magnate by rehashing the wonderful details of his trip to Israel.
What’s scary about all of this to internet gaming enthusiasts is how several legitimate Presidential candidates are pandering to Adelson. The world’s eighth richest man (according to Forbes) is unabashed in stating what he wants in return for the millions he doles out to politicians – an end to online gaming.
As we’ve cited several times in the past, Adelson’s arguments against playing internet poker and casino games lack any hard, factual data. He claims that kids will log on and play using their parents’ credit cards. Adelson also says that online gaming is so much more corrupting to society because there are no casino staff members to cut problem gamblers off. These theories sound reasonable, at least to those with little knowledge about gaming. But Adelson lacks proof, and you can’t base a solid argument on personal logic alone…unless you’re worth billions and have politicians clamoring for your money.
Taking the last point into account, Adelson and his anti-internet gaming crusade become more and more dangerous as elections draw nearer.