Billionaires raise stakes in online gambling debate
2012 election. “You would be hardpressed to find a bigger donor today than gambling interests,” he said.
Indeed, the casino and gaming industry funneled more than $3.6 million to Democrats and about $3.5 million to Republicans in the 2012 elections, according to OpenSecrets.com.
The fight is critical to some high-profile operations — most notably, Caesars.
“Caesars is bordering on bankruptcy,” Mr. Bernal said. “To try to salvage that investment, they are lobbying heavily to get online gambling. This is not a public uprising to have casinos on everyone’s cellphones and in everyone’s bedroom.”
Gary Thompson, spokesman for Caesars Entertainment, said online gambling is one of the ways in which the company plans to address its financial challenges. The casino chain, he said, supports “regulation over prohibition” and Mr. Adelson is making a bad bet.
“I think that the reality is when people examine all the issues and really consider them, and when you look at either the state or federal government’s desire to raise tax revenues, then Adelson has a losing hand,” Mr. Thompson said. “He certainly has a lot of money and he can probably outspend the entire rest of the gaming industry if he so chooses, but I think the facts speak for themselves.”
Sheldon Adelson (left) of Las Vegas Sands Corp. says he will spend whatever it takes to defeat online gambling, but he has plenty of wealthy opponents, including Donald Trump, the New York real estate mogul who partnered with Ultimate Gaming to offer online wagering in New Jersey.