Billionaire Sheldon Adelson has recently had to vehemently deny a series of serious allegations from a previous business associate. The casino magnate was involved in an altercation with the former head of his Macau-based casinos, who claimed that he was involved in organised crime and influence-peddling.
The 81-year-old is the proprietor of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which heads the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and the Venetian Macau Limited brands. Steven Jacobs, former CEO of the Macau-based casinos, claimed that Adelson’s business practices had breached US anti-bribery laws, while he will also be suing for unfair dismissal.
So far, Adelson appears unfazed by the trial, and has claimed Jacobs is simply “squealing like a pig” to the government. The Republican supporter is no stranger to stress under the limelight; he is known for being a staunch political influencer, with the aforementioned Republican Party in North America, as well as leading Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent successful re-election campaign in Israel.
What’s more, Adelson is currently also tied into a tense legal debate over the Restoration of the Wire Act, which seeks to renew the Federal Wire Act of 1961, effectively banning all online casinos from operating legally in the United States. Adelson’s associates have previously likened online gambling in the States to “cancer” in the past, and are calling for the potentially damaging practice to be banned in the three states in which it is currently legal: Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.
It’s a difficult mission and one which will garner much controversy, particularly given the success of online casinos within the last decade. Many have chosen to visit online casinos in recent years simply thanks to their relative larger choice: the Twin Spin Slots at Mr Smith Casino, for example, feature brighter colours and more options than their land-based competitors. There is also of course the added advantage of being able to gamble anywhere thanks to the availability of these sites on mobile devices.
This mobility is something that Adelson wants to bring a stop to however, and with his millions of dollars and unrelenting influence, it seems he could potentially be successful. This is a man who owns his own daily newspaper in Israel (which was instrumental in the aforementioned campaign) and also has strong links within politics in the United States. With friends in such high places, could we soon see a Restoration of the Wire Act?
Time is running out, but with election season on the horizon, it could be boom or bust for an industry that is just beginning to take off in the digital age.