Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has donated over $100 million to GOP lawmakers to support a bill to ban online gambling. However, the chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation is facing opposition from some of the same politicians that he lobbied for.
The Tea Party base is particularly opposed to his bill. Tea Party politicians have argued that the online gambling ban would be a major assault on state rights, which is one of the fundamental pillars of conservatism. They feel that New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware shouldn’t be forced to dissolve their online gambling industries.
Other conservatives argue that the bill violates the premises of the free market. Adelson has claimed that his primary motivation for banning online gambling is to protect young people from developing dangerous gambling addictions. However, critics argue that the bill is really intended to give the Las Vegas Sands Corporation a strong competitive advantage over other casinos.
Libertarian author and former congressman Ron Paul is one of the most outspoken critics of Adelson. Paul stated that the bill would also give the government greater authority to regulate the Internet, which would increase the probability of corruption. Paul also argued that some of the claims the proponents of the bill have made have been counterintuitive. He stated that banning online gambling to protect consumers from developing gambling addictions doesn’t make sense, because people have the option to gamble on unregulated foreign gaming sites.
Caesars Entertainment and a number of other leading casinos are trying to counter Adelson’s lobbying efforts. They argue that online gambling can be a lucrative source of revenue for states that are still struggling to recover from the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Eighteen co-sponsors in the House and three in the Senate have endorsed Adelson’s bill. However, the probability of passing the bill will decrease if opposition gains momentum