Billionaire Goes to Congress in Attempt to Ban Internet Gambling
In a recent action, headed by billionaire Sheldon Adelson who is the Las Vegas Sands Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, a group he leads, along with ex-New York Governor George Pataki, Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, and former Arkansas senator Blanche Lincoln have approached Congress in their attempt to drive through legislation that would ban online gambling which is already in progress in two states, with operators in New Jersey equipped to inaugurate activity and other states preparing to jump on the bandwagon. In addition to the ban, the Adelson's group wants the FBI to initiate investigations to look into associated law-enforcement concerns such as money laundering and bank fraud.
Adelson gained prominence through his political contributions of more than $15 million for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's campaign, and then donating tens of millions of dollars to Super PACs on behalf of Mitt Romney, during his failed election bid for president in 2012.
According to disclosure reports filed with Congress the group which is named the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling has hired two lobbying groups and has spent more than $400,000 over the years of 2011 and 2012 for their cause and more than $200,000 so far this year through Adelson's Las Vegas Sands corporation.
They would have to overcome strong opposition to the proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is a strong proponent of legalizing online gaming entities on a national level. A majority of democratic Senators also share Reid's philosophy.
In 2011, a US Justice Department opinion removed some existing legal obstacles, and the states were then able to craft their laws to certify the businesses would be run through existing land-based casinos. Doing so this way gained the allegiance of most of the gaming industry.
Adelson maintains strong moral concerns and points out that without banning the practice minors can easily participate using their tablets and smart phones as well as the inability to deter compulsive gamblers with its access and making it available to the poor Players at brick-and-mortar casinos are supervised, he said. But although he's voiced his concerns, his group's attempts have brought criticism and disapproval from the American Gaming Association which is a casino-industry trade group, headquartered in Washington, which includes his Las Vegas Sands as a member.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Adelson who is eighty years old has a personal worth valued at an estimated $33.6 billion.