When most people think of the opponents of online gambling regulation, their minds likely wander to social conservatives or minor industry interests.
But even as lobbyists rush to convince lawmakers that a federal law legalizing online poker — and outlawing other types of Internet gambling — is needed, many say it’s Adelson who should be worked. Adelson’s influence with Republican leadership in the House, especially Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is more of a threat to online poker legislation than the money he is spending to back Heller, lobbyists say.
“Eric and Sheldon talk all the time; it’s an ongoing dialogue,” one industry lobbyist said. “Dean is one vote, where Eric controls the agenda.”
The question is how engaged Adelson decides to become on the issue.
Adelson didn’t offer a comment on the matter to the Sun, but he told an audience in April of 2012 that “I’m not going to change my mind” about online gambling.
With a presidential election looming (and a massive company to watch over), Adelson might not be inclined to exert much effort in battling what many now see as an irreversible trend.
However, as his massive contributions to the obviously-doomed Gingrich campaign suggest, writing millions in checks probably doesn’t qualify as much effort at all for the Sands CEO, so even a peripherally engaged Adelson could prove problematic for proponents of regulation.
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