FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Is There a Deal Between Adelson and Reid to Ban Online Gaming?
Last month we reported about the Sheldon Adelson-financed group the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling and two of its lobbyists who, when they held elective office, supported the use of gambling revenues to fund favored projects.
“The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling is a relatively new group headed by two politicians-turned-lobbyists, former New York Republican Gov. George Pataki and former Denver Democrat Mayor Wellington Webb,” As stated in that post, “It wasn’t that long ago that both former politicians were vocal proponents of their respective states’ pro-gaming and lottery policies.”
Despite the hypocritical posture of his lobbying arm, Adelson may be making headway – but not with the Republicans in Congress his personal resources help to elect. Rather, according to Washington Post reporter Tom Hamburger, Adelson may have a secret deal with Senate Democrat Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 14%:
In Washington, Adelson and his team confront a delicate strategy decision. While the GOP megadonor will surely gain clout with Republicans running both the House and Senate next year, he also has a good relationship with Reid. The two are political foes in many respects, but as fellow Nevadans, they share an affinity for the home-state gambling industry. And Reid, facing a tough reelection in 2016, stands to benefit from continued warm relations. Even if Adelson is not a direct benefactor to Reid, he could minimize his role in the Nevada Senate race.
It is widely believed that Nevada’s popular Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval will run against Reid in 2016. Would Adelson really sit out the opportunity to dethrone one of the most unpopular Democrats in America? He might if he gets his online gaming ban through Congress this year. And according to Hamburger, Adelson seems very confident it will happen:
Adelson’s top lobbyist, Andy Abboud, declined to comment for this story. He told the gambling trade press this month that Reid and Boehner were actively engaged on the issue.
“I know they’ve had some discussions to some degree about when legislation could move and the need to address the issue,” Abboud told Gambling Compliance. “It’s just not clear as to when the timing will be.”
Speaking with Nevada television journalist Jon Ralston, Abboud expressed confidence that a federal ban would be considered in Congress soon, either this year or next year. “The dye is cast on this. The cake is baked,” Abboud told Ralston.