Casino Baron Sends Millions to Trump Campaign4 years ago
When Sheldon Adelson does something in the political world, the poker community tends to pay close attention, and recent reports claiming that he has pledged $100million to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign are definitely worth taking notice of.
According to anonymous sources close to the billionaire casino mogul, he intends to put his full support behind Trump’s bid for the White House, while scaling back his donations to other areas of the republican movement.
What this might mean for the poker community in any future Trump presidency is hard to say, but it’s unlikely to bode well for those who have been opposing Las Vegas tycoon Adelson in recent years.
We can speculate of course, but before doing so let’s take a look at Adelson’s poker-related history – something which doesn’t make for pretty reading as any die-hard fan of the online version can tell you.
Although he owns casinos and resort hotels in Vegas, Pennsylvania, Macao, and Singapore under his Sands brand, he has opposed online gambling from the off.
In 2013 he announced he would be funding a public campaign to fight the online industry, describing it as:
A danger to children, the poor, and others who could be exploited by easy access to Internet betting.”
The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling included former mayors, senators, and governors, with the plan being to influence individual states who might be considering the issue of online gambling, but also with a view to enacting a federal bill specifically banning the activity.
With such a vast fortune behind him, opponents of his anti-gambling obsession have been fighting a tough battle in and out of the various senate hearings ever since, mostly with success.
Adelson’s backing of RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act) bills in several different states has been consistent: “In my 15 years of working with him, I don’t think I have ever seen him this passionate about any issue,” were his top political adviser Andy Abboud’s words at the time, but despite this, successes have been limited.
The concern with this week’s Trump connection should be fairly obvious however, when somebody pumps enormous sums of money into a political campaign, they expect returns on their investment at some point in the future.
According to the New York Times report announcing his $100million boost to Trump’s probable election battle:
Mr. Adelson is frustrated by congressional gridlock and believes the only way to affect the country’s political system is to ensure a Republican president is elected, say the Republicans familiar with his thinking.”
Despite helping to fund and support both Cruz and Rubio, Trump’s biggest opponents in the Primaries, Adelson recently met with Trump in person and also penned an op-ed piece for the Washington Post stating:
He is a candidate with actual CEO experience, shaped and molded by the commitment and risk of his own money rather than the public’s,” adding that Mr. Trump “has created a movement in this country that cannot be denied.”
A Republican presidency with Trump at the head would be a huge boost to Adelson, a man who shares many of the same extreme views and aggressive business practices as Trump, and would doubtless prove to be a serious problem for those attempting to legalize and regulate online poker and other forms of internet gambling across the US.
Trump, himself, has owned several casinos over the years and his Trump Organisation are involved in plans currently to build a new casino adjoining his existing Trump Hotel on the Vegas strip.
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