What happens when you take one of the wealthiest men in the world and you make him one of the biggest backers of a political party? You have politicians doing his bidding to eliminate business competition.
That is exactly the threat online gambling is facing.
Sheldon Adelson is one of the richest men in the world, worth an estimated $38 billion. Adelson is also a Republican and poured roughly $100 million into Republican campaigns in 2012. Now, in 2014 he is backing Senator Lindsey Graham
How is Graham responding to Adelson’s support? He and Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz are co-sponsoring a bill that would reinstate federal law to prohibit “all forms of Internet gambling.”
In December 2011 Justice Department issued an opinion that the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, covers only sports betting. That opinion dramatically changed the landscape, sparking moves by states, casino interests and technology vendors to explore online markets. Nevada and two other states have legalized forms of in-state Web gaming, and 10 states are considering the same.
Among the lawmakers pushing for this is Tea Party and Liberty Republican favorite Mike Lee who is considered to be strong on the Constitution and an advocate for states rights.
The legislation does not contain a grandfather clause that would permit Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware to continue offering online gamin as they do now, and would bring to a halt the recent Nevada-Delaware agreement to pool online poker. Those states and any others would be required to get Congress to sign off.
It all comes back to Sheldon Adelson. Why? Because Adelson and his wife just threw a large fundraiser for Graham. Meanwhile, the bill that Graham is pushing was written by Sheldon Adelson’s lobbyist.
Benswann.com’s Evan Mulch confronted Lindsey Graham about this in South Carolina.