It’s no secret that Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson can make or break a presidential candidate with the stroke of a pen on a check. Reports recently put Adelson in the Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) camp and that puts Rubio in a strong position. Earlier this year, Adelson hosted a try-out for Republicans vying for his deep pockets and support for Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Having a billionaire to fund a super PAC can provide necessary allied resources to a campaign that can help a candidate break into the top tier.
It is also no secret that Adelson is no fan of competition for his casino. He has declared open warfare on states that are legalizing online gaming for their residents. Adelson has funded a grass-tops operation, written legislation to overturn state laws, and gotten members of Congress to support the targeted Internet gaming ban.
The Republican king maker may have to turn to the leaders he has installed and supported in order to issue a nationwide legal decree that only gambling that casino owner Sheldon Adelson approves of is allowed in America.
Supporters of Adelson’s bill, the so called “Restoration of America’s Wire Act,” argue that they don’t want their computers or tablets turned into casinos. There is one problem. The legislation they support only outlaws legalized and regulated online gambling. It leaves untouched overseas sites that are easily assessed with a simple Google search.
Despite the growing nature of the legal online gaming market, it is relatively small. One-day fantasy sports, however, are booming. It has become a multi-billion dollar industry, and analysts predict that daily fantasy sports contests will exceed the total amount wagered on sports in all of Nevada by next year. A sports fan can’t get through a sporting event without a couple of DraftKings or FanDuel commercials shown during the event, because these sites are raking in huge amounts of cash.
Yet, while some are calling for regulations, no one yet has pushed for prohibition, including Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the leading advocate of the Adelson bill.
When asked whether he wanted to add one-day fantasy sports to his bill, Chaffetz said no. They only want to target certain types of gaming online that they think they can beat and they worry that taking on DraftKings and FanDuel will be too much to handle.
The sad reality is that the whole effort to push this scheme is based on hypocrisy. If one were “anti-gambling,” why would one get into bed with the richest casino owner in the world? If you were concerned about “turning your computer into a casino” would you not include one-day fantasy sports in your legislation? Or why wouldn’t you address the off-shore gaming sites? Or why would you not promote legislation to ban all gaming, gambling, lotteries or any other type of wagering throughout the whole nation?
The answer is clear: The whole effort is cynically designed to protect one man’s casino enterprise.
Adelson does not care about sports betting. He does not care about overseas betting sites. He fears legal and regulated online poker. So that’s what the bill attacks. And don’t let any principle get in the way. Not even the Constitution.
One of the big problems with this legislative idea is that it seeks to federalize decisions that should occur on the state level – whether the people of a state consent to gaming. The Tenth Amendment states that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Chaffetz was a founding member of the Tenth Amendment Caucus. This bill is a direct assault on the Tenth Amendment.
My advice is simple is to let the Constitution be our guide. We don’t need Washington dictating gaming policy to the states. If Utah wants to prohibit online gaming or fantasy sports, do be it. If New Jersey wants to have it, that’s up to them.
I don’t agree with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on much but nodded my head in agreement when during the last GOP presidential debate, Jeb Bush was asked about fantasy sports and online gaming. Christie’s reply was perfect:
Are we really talking about getting the government involved in fantasy football? Wait a second. We have $19 trillion in debt, we have people out of work, we have ISIS and al Qaeda attacking us — and we’re talking about fantasy football? Can we stop?
Cross-posted at The Blaze