Adelson suspected to be behind online gambling ban

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Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson is widely considered to be the prime mover behind the US Justice Department’s rare reversal of policy regarding online gambling. The new policy could result in a complete ban of online gambling.

The wording of the new legal opinion resembles that of documents submitted in 2017 by lobbyists employed by Adelson, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The Justice Department’s unexpected decision overturned its own policies established just eight years ago. Adelson’s view that the government’s policy should change was not shared by many other executives in the gaming industry, who see online gambling as a lucrative business opportunity.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Adelson “has long said that online gambling would decrease revenue at bricks-and-mortar casinos and that it could encourage underage gambling and addiction.”

The Justice Department rejects the notion that Adelson’s political influence played any part in the policy reversal, but for those who have watched the Las Vegas Sands chief pour tens of millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, this will no doubt add to his reputation as a man who can bend US government policy to his will, whether deservedly or not.

Last October, ProPublica published an article documenting an attempt by President Donald Trump to lobby on Adelson’s behalf in the Japan IR licensing hunt.