Adelson Looks to Declare War on Online Gambling

Big GOP donor says it's bad for business, country
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2013 11:28 AM CST
Adelson Looks to Declare War on Online Gambling
In this Friday, April 5, 2013, file photo, Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO Sheldon Adelson testifies in Clark County district court in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

Casino boss Sheldon Adelson was in the spotlight last November for his enormous donations to GOP campaigns. This year, he's using his billions to fight another battle—against online gambling. Though Caesars, MGM Resorts, and other competitors say the practice could actually benefit casinos, Adelson disagrees; he says it could hurt both his business and society at large, the Washington Post reports. "In my 15 years of working with him, I don’t think I have ever seen him this passionate about any issue," says an adviser.

With online gambling set for consideration or legalization in many states—New Jersey begins allowing it this month, with GOP star Chris Christie's backing—Adelson is planning a public push against the practice, arguing that it can exploit kids and the poor. He's readying an advocacy group, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, and he's already hired lobbyists and PR people across the country. The Post is waiting to see the level of power such a big election spender can wield among lawmakers. Of course, Mitt Romney didn't win last year, and an online poker advocate doesn't sound worried: "We don’t make a habit of picking fights with billionaires," he says, "but in this case, I think we’ll win, because millions of Americans who want to play online will oppose this legislation." (More Sheldon Adelson stories.)

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