Casino and Business Mogul Sheldon Adelson Dies Aged 87

Las Vegas Sands Corporation founder and CEO Sheldon Adelson, perhaps the staunchest foe of online poker in the United States, has died in Las Vegas at the age of 87. Adelson died from complications of his ongoing treatment for non-hodgkins lymphona, with which he was diagnosed in February of 2019.

By: Haley Hintze

Las Vegas Sands’ major properties in the US are the Venetian and the Palazzo in Las Vegas, though in recent years the majority of the firm’s income has been generated from its major overseas venues, such as the sprawling Sands Macau property.

Adelson earned the everlasting ire of the vast majority of the US online poker world for his chief role in suppressing American legalization efforts of online poker and other forms of online gambling. Adelson famously dissed the reality of poker’s skill elements nearly a decade ago, saying, “That skill base is, in my opinion, just a bunch of baloney. To get a card is not skill based. I know people say it is skill based, but it’s just so they can categorize it in a certain segment.” Adelson also declared that online gambling was morally wrong, but people visiting his casinos to do the exact same types of gambling was perfectly okay, though his Venetian property had no issues in partnering with online giant PokerStars in the first stop of what was to be an ongoing series, months prior to the 2011 “Black Friday” crackdown.

Adelson also directed the formation of the noxious Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG), which spent years mounting bogus claims that online gambling was aimed at underage bettors and funding the appearances of a handful of radical anti-gambling talking heads at various legislative hearings on the topic. Adelson also directed LVSands attorneys and lobbyists to draft legislation and preliminary opinions for like-minded federal officials -- both in Congress and at the Department of Justice -- to derail the United States’ slow march toward online gambling legalization.

LVSands and Adelson also effectively neutralized the American Gambling Association’s (AGA) early push to support online gambling. The AGA was utterly sidelined on the issue after LVSands, the organization’s largest donor, threatened to leave the group if it supported online gambling in any way.

Adelson’s legislative interference, in the form of several falsely monikered “Restore America’s Wire Act” (RAWA) bills, earned him national and international scorn for being the poster child of “crony capitalism”. All those bills, funded and supported by Adelson’s wealth, died in Congress. Meanwhile, the false-flag CSIG operation quietly folded its tent after the state of New Jersey prevailed in its years-long legal battle with the DOJ over legalized sportsbetting, which has been followed by similar approvals of that and online gambling in many other states.

The massively wealthy Adelson spent one or two of his many billions in trying to alter the course of American and Israeli politics as well. Adelson famously spent tens of millions directly supporting Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns while spending hundreds of millions more supporting down-ballot GOP candidates and the GOP itself. Often described as a Republican kingmaker, Adelson was likely the single largest GOP megadonor over the last decade. Trump, in a bald-faced payback, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Adelson’s wife Miriam in 2018. An NBC investigative report declared that Miriam Adelson’s medal epitomized the pay-for-play nature of Trump’s presidency.

Adelson will be buried in Israel following services in the US, details of which are still pending.

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