Casinos Staked Fortunes on Friendly Gambler Mac

Industry blossomed with help from legislation by life-time gamer
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 28, 2008 7:10 AM CDT
A supporter photographs John McCain during a fundraising dinner at the Venetian hotel-casino in Las Vegas last year.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – 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.