Sheldon Adelson Is Behind a Congressional Plot to Kill Online Gambling

A bill expected to hit the floor next week has the billionaire’s influence written all over it.

Sheldon Adelson single-handedly helped Newt Gingrich stay alive in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries.
National Journal
Dustin Volz
Add to Briefcase
Dustin Volz
March 20, 2014, 1 a.m.

Shel­don Ad­el­son is already wield­ing his su­per-rich in­flu­ence in the 2014 elec­tions to ad­vance the is­sue he and his bil­lion-dol­lar pock­ets care about most.

Law­makers in both cham­bers of Con­gress are ex­pec­ted to drop bi­par­tis­an bills next week to “re­store” a dec­ades-old fed­er­al ban on cer­tain kinds of bet­ting op­er­a­tions and ex­tend it to in­clude In­ter­net gambling — a cause the bil­lion­aire casino mag­nate has vo­cally cham­pioned.

The com­pan­ion bills, cham­pioned by Rep. Jason Chaf­fetz and Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, both Re­pub­lic­ans, would amend parts of the 1961 Wire Act to in­clude lim­it­a­tions on “any trans­mis­sion over the In­ter­net car­ried in­ter­state or in for­eign com­merce,” ac­cord­ing to a three-page draft cir­cu­lat­ing. The law had his­tor­ic­ally been used to po­lice all forms of gambling but was largely nul­li­fied in 2011, when the Justice De­part­ment is­sued a form­al rul­ing that lim­ited its scope to only sports bet­ting.

While Chaf­fetz has long ex­pressed skep­ti­cism about on­line bet­ting, Gra­ham has his­tor­ic­ally been quiet on the is­sue — un­til now. The South Car­o­lina Re­pub­lic­an’s sud­den in­terest co­in­cides with an in­fu­sion of cam­paign cash from Ad­el­son, who has donated more than $15,000 to Gra­ham’s 2014 bid to earn a third Sen­ate term. Gra­ham is eager to bone up on his con­ser­vat­ive cre­den­tials in a South­ern state, as he is in the throes of fend­ing off a crowded field of chal­lengers in his state’s June primary.

“There’s no doubt that these bills are be­ing pushed at the be­hest of Shel­don Ad­el­son,” said John Pap­pas, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the Poker Play­ers Al­li­ance, which op­poses most re­stric­tions on on­line bet­ting.

Ad­el­son launched his Co­ali­tion to Stop In­ter­net Gambling late last year, amid a grow­ing move­ment in sev­er­al state­houses to lower re­stric­tions on on­line gambling. The oc­to­gen­ari­an, best known for at­tempt­ing to sway elec­tions by dump­ing lim­it­less money in­to cam­paigns, has vowed to “spend whatever it takes” to stop on­line bet­ting, an in­dustry he has de­rided as “a so­ci­et­al train wreck wait­ing to hap­pen.”

“We sup­port and ap­plaud all ef­forts to re­store the long-stand­ing in­ter­pret­a­tion that the Wire Act pro­hib­its In­ter­net gambling,” Ad­el­son’s group said in a state­ment. “It’s com­mon sense that put­ting a vir­tu­al casino in the pock­et of every Amer­ic­an with a smart­phone is bad pub­lic policy.”

Of note in the draft bill is an ex­emp­tion for bet­ting on horsera­cing, which may be in­cluded to ap­pease Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell of Ken­tucky. Fantasy games are also carved out.

What We're Following See More »
WILL U.S. RESPOND?
Russia Accidentally Bombs U.S.-Backed Syrian Forces
1 hours ago
BREAKING
CARSON UP NEXT
Zinke Confirmed As Interior Secretary
3 hours ago
BREAKING
GOODLATTE SENDING LETTER TO SESSIONS THIS WEEK
House GOP Blocks Dems on Trump Ethics
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

On a party-line vote, "the House Judiciary Committee defeated a Democratic effort Tuesday to obtain any information the Justice Department has on possible conflicts, ethical violations or improper connections to Russia by President Donald Trump and his associates. The committee’s Republican chairman, Bob Goodlatte, opposed the resolution, even as he acknowledged the Justice Department hasn’t acted on his own request for a briefing on alleged Russian interference with the U.S. election and potential ties to the Trump campaign." He said he'll be sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting him to pursue "all legitimate investigative leads" into those matters.

Source:
WAITING FOR NEWS CYCLE TO REFRESH
Trump Holds Off on New Travel Ban
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump won’t sign a revised travel ban on Wednesday as had been anticipated, two senior administration officials confirmed. One of the officials indicated that the delay was due to the busy news cycle, and that when Trump does sign the revised order, he wanted it to get plenty of attention."

Source:
BUT THEY MUST PAY
Donald Trump Affirms Support For NATO
16 hours ago
UPDATE

Near the end of his speech Tuesday, Donald Trump made a firm proclamation affirming his support for NATO. "We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism," Trump said. However, he continued on, "our partners must meet their financial obligations."

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login