Sheldon Adelson may not be Rich Enough to stop Online Gambling

In terms of wealth, hardly anybody on the planet is richer than Sheldon Adelson. The Las Vegas Sands chairman has a $39.6 billion fortune, which, according to Forbes, makes him the world’s seventh richest man. But even with all of this money, Adelson may not be rich enough to achieve his latest goal: stopping online gambling.

The 80-year-old has definitely made some progress in halting the spread of internet gaming. He famously landed South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham in his back pocket, which resulted in a bill that, if voted in, would effectively ban online gaming. Adelson is also backing a large number of other Republican politicians, and this will no doubt see him have influence in plenty of states.

But according to Slate, there’s too much opposition on the other side for Adelson’s plan to work effectively – no matter how much money is thrown at the situation. Here’s a quick look at what Slate wrote:

Adelson, a prominent backer of conservative political causes and head of the Las Vegas Sands casino empire, has pledged to spend “whatever it takes” to get Congress to ban Internet gambling outright. In March, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced a bill that was written with the help of Adelson’s lobbyists to achieve that goal.

Meanwhile, industry giants like Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts have taken the opposite tack, banding together in an effort to legalize and tap into the growing market. Maneuvering quietly in the background are foreign entities, including the Isle-of-Man-based PokerStars, the world’s biggest online poker operator. As a whole, the casino industry is among the most generous in giving to political candidates across the country. According to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, the gambling industry contributed $287.6 million to state and federal campaigns from 2009 to 2012 (state data for 2013 aren’t yet available).

Upon reading the entire Slate piece, one could gain the impression that neither side is really gaining much traction in the war to approve or stop online gambling. Instead, high-paid lobbyists are lining their pockets while Adelson and MGM/Caesars continue their stalemate.

The defining vote in this battle belongs to the state governments themselves, who have to decide if pursuing internet gaming will bring the tax revenues that they desire. Moreover, offering online casino and poker games also helps keep residents from crossing over into other states just to play.