Sen. Dean Heller And Sheldon Adelson Reading From Same Hymn Sheet
Politicians are known to change their views on just about any topic according to their own interests. This is no more apparent than with the ongoing debate over online gambling in the U.S. We all know that there is a major push by most gambling companies to expand online gambling in the U.S. Besides the three states currently offering limited internet gambling, there are over 10 other states looking into the issue.
The two main anti-online gambling proponents are that of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and recently Steve Wynn. These two are small in numbers but have unlimited resources. Sheldon Adelson’s public campaign and declaration that he will do whatever it takes to stop online gambling in the U.S. has got politicians jumping on the bandwagon. To put this story in perspective it must be remembered that Adelson contributed over $100m in an effort to get Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney elected. This is by far the biggest amount of money ever spent on campaign financing.
It therefore is not surprising that U.S. Sen. Dean Heller who is a Republican is looking appease the party caucus while also joining forces with the Democratic Sen. Harry Reid to come up with a bill that will restore the Wire Act of 1961.
Sen. Heller is working to introduce legislation in Mach which is aimed at outlawing online gambling except for online poker. This is not the first time that Heller has attempted to introduce legislation but his timing coincided with Adelson’s much talked about crusade. In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Heller was quick to praise Adelson and said,” I think Adelson brings up some reasonable concerns. And to have the wild wild West as an empire of gambling for the country would have some serious social implications. And I think that’s what he’s concerned with.”
As if out of Adelson’s hymn sheet Heller cited the exact reasons Adelson did when opposing online gambling. He said,” I think the devastation for bricks and mortar (casinos) in this state … would just be a final nail, I think, in keeping these businesses healthy.”
Heller wants Nevada to become the nation’s online poker hub. Currently Nevada only permits poker in their online offering. It is no secret that Nevada is struggling to build a viable online poker base and is way behind the New Jersey market. As reported the addition of a third online poker site in Nevada only complicates matters. Heller also made a point of emphasizing that the issue is not confined to Nevada by saying,” We’re trying to keep it from being just a Nevada issue. So Harry and I are trying to look for help from members in each of our conferences to come forward with legislation that, hopefully, long term provides a solution for us.”
According to Heller online poker should be excluded from the federal ban as it is a game of skill and not chance. Cynics watching the interview were quick to point out the two-tongued messages coming out of this seasoned politician. It is clear that he is attempting to play to all sides. It still remains highly unlikely that progress in the expansion of online gambling will be stopped as the economic needs of many states are just too strong to turn internet gambling revenues away.