Political Contributions by Las Vegas Sands Approach Record Numbers in an Effort to Stop Regulated Online Poker in the US
The Las Vegas Sands has spent $460,000 on lobbying to ban online gambling in the first six months of the year, according to a report from OpenSecrets.org.
The amount falls just $10,000 short of the total political contributions made by the Las Vegas Sands in all of 2008—the year it spent the most on lobbying.
The amount does not include money spent personally by Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, nor money that is not required to be declared under US election finance laws.
The Las Vegas Sands owner announced in November last year that he was taking his opposition to internet gambling to a more active level with the formation of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG).
His lobbying efforts have led to two federal bills being proposed, and a number of state initiatives have been set in motion.
The campaign to stop internet gambling has also included controversial videos which appear to demonize online poker.
The money is a drop in the ocean of his political contributions during the last election cycle in 2012. Numbers released by the Federal Election Commission show $92 million in donations by Sheldon and his wife Miriam.
One of the main impacts of his efforts has been to mobilize support for internet poker and internet gambling.
The industry has responded with the formation of Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (C4COP), which budgeted $250,000 for its first PR campaign.
In addition, Caesars Entertainment which offers online gaming in two of the three states that have regulated the activity so far, has spent nearly $1.8 million on lobbying this year.
Some of the strongest opposition to Adelson’s proposals for a federal ban have been the advocates of states’ rights.
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the Democratic Governors Association and the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) have all come out in opposition to federal legislation.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) has been less supportive, officially withdrawing its support for online gaming regulation. Adelson is a prominent member of the industry group.
With a net worth of $37 billion, according to the May edition of Forbes, 80 year old Sheldon Adelson is not going to run short of money to support his campaign—time is another matter.