Sheldon Adelson, founder of the Las Vegas Sands casino dynasty, has died at the age of 87 from cancer. While putting his energy into expanding his brick and mortar gambling resorts across the world which amassed him billions, Adelson also spent alot of his money on fighting the growth of online gambling in the United States. He went from being mildly antagonistic against the industry, to one of its staunchest opponents. As a result, he managed to incur the wrath of a wide audience of online poker and casino players over the years.
Adelson wasn’t always an opponent of online gambling. In fact, he expressed the desire to see Las Vegas Sands participate in “electronic gaming.” Filings with the Securities and Exchanges Commission show that the company was clearly interested in entering the online gambling world at one point. However, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts to make any progress, Adelson became a critic of online gambling legalization.
Sheldon Adelson became more outspoken against the industry over the years, and in 2014, he founded the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG), an organization which lobbied to prevent the expansion of online gambling at state and federal levels. This was in stark contrast to rival gaming entities such as MGM and Caesars Entertainment which embraced the the growing online gambling industry.
The stated mission of the CSIG was this:
“The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling is a national partnership of over 60 religious organizations, civil rights groups & family advocates working to protect the young, poor and elderly from the dangers of predatory online gambling. Targeting the young, the poor and the elderly where they live, Internet gambling takes gambling too far. Internet Gambling crosses the line of responsible gaming by bringing gambling into our living rooms and onto our smartphones, tablets and home computers 24 hours a day without necessary protections. Congress must protect United States residents and citizens by restoring the longstanding federal ban on Internet gambling”
For years, Adelson lobbied for the introduction of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, with the ultimate objective to see all forms of gambling online outlawed. He invested literally millions of dollars in his efforts, and was open in his courting of members of Congress who he felt might help his cause. He poured money into the political campaigns of candidates who wanted to overturn state legislation that legalized online gambling.
Adelson was unsuccessful in his efforts, and his power waned especially after the US Supreme Court ruled to allow individual states to decide on their own sports betting industries.