Every election cycle brings new faces to the forefront of politics on the local and national levels. Politicians rise and fall over the course of a campaign. Some become successful power players, while others fade away. Through it all, however, the people powering the campaigns remain the same.
One of the chiefs among these individuals, at least on the conservative side, is casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. In 2012, Adelson spent over $100 million in campaign contributions to the Republican Party which did not deliver the presidency. Since those defeats, Adelson has adjusted his political tactics, focusing on races that seemed close and winnable. He also funnels money towards specific causes. For years, Adelson has been on the forefront of the battle over Internet gambling.
Adelson opposes the legalization of online gambling and has found some success in that arena. The fight has been one of Adelson’s primary focuses in recent years, and his efforts have led to wide-reaching outcomes for online gaming’s future. Interestingly, the aforementioned article raises the point that many of Adelson’s stated concerns about online gambling ring hollow and hypocritical when considering the billionaire’s own casino holdings.
Another hypocritical initiative, which Adelson has championed, is the recent push to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. Despite funding a medical center that supports the use and benefits of medical marijuana, Adelson donated millions to a group opposing legalization. It all appears to be a bid to curry favor with Republican governor Rick Scott with an eye towards a near future battle for the rights to build casinos in Florida and it appears to be working.
While states like New Jersey have begun offering online gambling, the fight was long and drawn out, and things like sports betting still aren’t legal either on or offline. Meanwhile, in Florida, the medical marijuana initiative failed, largely due to support and funding from outside the state.
This is the state of politics today. Big money from corporate interests and rich benefactors, often unidentified can swing elections and ballot initiatives. While the names on the ballot may change, the names financing them are becoming more and more entrenched.