Life-time gambler John McCain is behind more casino legislation than any other lawmaker, and has helped Indian gambling become a $26 billion industry, reports the New York Times. Though the Arizona senator has called lobbyists “birds of prey,” he has enjoyed close links to casino lobbyists. He once won thousands of dollars as a guest of a lobbyist gambling at a casino he oversaw as two-time head of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
For gambling firms angling to get ahead, McCain's the man to know, according to the Times. McCain stewarded a major Washington investigation revealing how lobbyist Jack Abramoff cheated native Americans. But lobbyists and legislators close to McCain stood to gain from the case, earning cash from the tribes Abramoff cheated and destroying competing lobbyists. For McCain, the case was a chance to trounce opponents from the 2000 campaign, the Times reports.