Adelson’s Quest To Kill Online Gambling Losing Allies And Steam

Written By Katie Callahan on November 15, 2017 - Last Updated on October 17, 2022
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[toc]Sheldon Adelson is at it again, and shows no real signs of slowing down his campaign against online gambling.

Adelson is a longtime critic of online gambling and a casino owner. Adelson is the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Along with the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG), he rallied in the time before the Pennsylvania passed the state budget to prohibit online gambling.

Those efforts went south.

Adelson vs. the internet

Two days after Pennsylvania passed the state budget, which included a portion on internet gambling, the state collected $1 million in revenue, reported The Associated Press.

The coalition actively works on behalf of casino owners, alleging that online gambling leads to addiction and can have harmful effects on children. He said this is a moral issue.

Adelson doesn’t stop there. He also is moving a federal bill that could crack down on these state laws: the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). This act most notably made headlines when a lobbyist friendly with Attorney General Jeff Sessions went to the Justice Department.

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Billionaire against PA

Adelson befriended multiple gambling opponents in Pennsylvania. That lists includes Sen. Lisa Boscola, who represents the district home to Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. Adelson owns this casino.

When all was said and done though, including the vote, Boscola switched sides. Instead of voting against the gaming bill, she approved it. The old casino fund money could fund a new science center in her jurisdiction.

Protecting the brick and mortar, Sands

Boscola had this to say in 2015 to Lehigh Valley Live:

“It’s so much easier to get addicted when you’re at your house. When you go to a brick-and-mortar [casino], you have to physically go there and play. I’m even afraid that students will be doing it at their homes.”

The casino brings over $500 million in revenue each year, $200 million of which went to the state.

Adelson, with his own net worth in the ballpark of $30-40 billion, has had his highs and lows this year.

Sands Bethlehem sales up in the air

While he hits No. 14 on Forbes Wealthiest Americans List and continues to fund Republicans at high positions, including Donald Trump, Adelson and co. have been rumored to be trying to sell Sands Bethlehem in PA.

After a failed pass with MGM International, Keating and Associates swept in to evaluate the property in October. Sands Bethlehem, on the other, told Lehigh Valley Live that the company hasn’t spoken to, or even heard of, the financial firm.

The firm’s news comes after Keating made an offer to Revel Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Twice, the Sands has been close to sale, but these deals disintegrated amidst talks of the state expanding gaming.

Should this deal go through, the Sands would need to file paperwork with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, pass all the background checks, show financial stability to meet the price, and appear before the gaming board. Then, the board would have to vote; the entire process spanning across months.

What will Adelson do now?

Online gambling has been on the radar in PA for five years now, and shows no sign of slowing down. When Gov.Tom Wolf sign the gaming package this at the start of November, he seemed to be a fan. He attempted to satisfy gaming opponents by stating that the package will not cannibalize existing gaming revenue.

The new law has already paved the way for The Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia to continue construction, gain a slot license, and allow for more online gambling licenses in the state.

Only time will tell if Adelson chooses to stick it out or move beyond PA to slow the way for other states in the online gambling scene. Or maybe, he’ll just take it federal and get the shot he’s been waiting for.


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Katie Callahan

Katie Callahan is a freelance journalist, blogger and copywriter who covers everything from poker, business, education and politics to construction, startups and cybersecurity.

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