Ex-Representative Connie Mack IV Is Lobbying on Behalf of Sheldon Adelson in Florida
Former U.S. Representative from Florida, Connie Mack IV, is now a paid lobbyist for Sheldon Adelson. The main focus of Mack’s lobbying effort is to ban online gambling on a nationwide basis.
“The Restoration of the Wire Act” was introduced to the U.S. Congress a few months ago. In the Senate, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham introduced the bill. In the House of Representatives, Utah Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz introduced the legislation. The bill has bipartisan support, though many GOP members are also against such legislation. Connie Mack IV has his work cut out for him, but he also has powerful backing and politicians searching for campaign donations.
Connie Mack IV and Florida Politics
Connie Mack’s political career was based out of Florida, where Sheldon Adelson has taken a significant interest in recent years. Adelson donated $2.5 million to a campaign to stop the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida. Adelson had contributed significant money to Republican Governor Rick Scott, until Rick Scott offended the LVS president by negotiating a new casino contract with the Seminole tribe. The two are said to have had a falling out.
Still, Connie Mack IV knows Florida politics and the many important people on the scene, so he should be helpful in the anti-online gambling effort. Meanwhile, Connie Mack IV’s ex-wife Mary Bono is lobbying against Sheldon Adelson’s initiatives. Bono, like Mack, lost her last Florida political campaign.
Sheldon Adelson’s Activism
Around the country, Adelson has contributed millions to GOP candidates who support anti-online gambling initiatives. In Pennsylvania, for instance, Adelson gave nearly million dollars to the Republican Governors Association. The RGA then gave almost a million dollars to the PAC set up for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett. Adelson was reprimanded for the contribution, because it would be illegal to have handed the money directly to Corbett’s reelection PAC. Corbett faces an uphill fight to win, as he currently faces a 20% deficit in the polls. He needs the campaign money.
The Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Sheldon Adelson is the president and COO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. The Las Vegas Sands was a second-tier Las Vegas gaming company ten years ago. Then Adelson and the Sands invested early in Macau. Now Adelson controls the most profitable casino in the world (“The Venetian Macau”).
The wealth from his gaming ventures, especially the Venetian Macau, has made Sheldon Adelson fabulously wealthy. Adelson is now the 8th-richest person in the world, with a little over $38 billion. He also has said his business soon will be a (mainly) Chinese business. He’s also said, while Macau is often called “The Las Vegas of China”, it’s the other way around: Las Vegas should be called “America’s Macau”.
Sheldon Adelson’s Moral Stance
Despite collecting vast wealth off the losses of gamblers, Adelson takes a moral stand on online gambling. He believes online gambling is a danger for problem gamblers and underage players, but also believes that land-based casinos are much more responsible in protecting gaming addicts and underage gamblers.
Despite becoming an international business executive more interested in his Chinese interests than his American venues, Adelson has become quite active in American politics. It is estimated Adelson spent more than any donor in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election. Everyone assumes he’ll spend even more in 2016, which is why four top Republican presidential hopefuls trekked to Las Vegas this last spring to gain Sheldon Adelson’s favor.
While he is being feted, Sheldon Adelson hopes to gain the backing of American politicians for his anti-online gambling campaign. Internet gaming pundits often accuse Adelson of going after online gambling in order to protect his land assets. While the campaign might be self-serving on some level, anyone familiar with LVS’s revenue streams should know that’s a minor concern. Whether you believe Adelson justifies his own profiting off of land-based gambling, you have to assume he actually has moral concerns about betting on the computer. Unless the 80-year old gaming executive is playing a really long term game, he is not too concerned about New Jersey gambling eating into his profits.
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