Did Sheldon Adelson Buy Committee Hearing?

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Did Sheldon Adelson Buy Committee Hearing?

A hearing to deal with H.R. 707 or Restoration of Americas Wire Act is scheduled to take place March 25.  The witness list – All four are pro online gambling prohibition. The backer of said legislation is none other than GOP megadonor and casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson.   


The hearing looks to extend the scope of a 1962 Wire Act that, until now, has strictly dealt with illegal sports betting.  Adelson and friends want the law extended to include online poker and casino games.  Fantasy sports, horse racing and state lotteries would be exempt.  After all, none of these directly impact Adelson’s vast casino empire.

The Specator asks: Did Sheldon Adelson buy the upcoming Committee Hearing?

Brian McNicoll asks:

So what is the purpose of a congressional hearing? To increase understanding or buttress a political case the majority always intended to make?

As always, it depends on who is paying. In the case of a hearing now tentatively set for March 25 before the House Crime Subcommittee on Judiciary, Sheldon Adelson is the payer, and the witness list — for now — has been constructed to elucidate Adelson’s views to the exclusion of all others.

McNicoll answers his own question, but with one caveat. 

Adelson didn’t actually buy a hearing. He merely contributed to the campaigns of those who called it and counted on them to take care of the witness list. And they did take care of it — four witnesses so far, all called by Republicans and all opposed to Internet gambling.

When Americans think of congressional hearings — to the extent they ever do — they think of a broad array of witnesses providing diverse viewpoints to educate lawmakers on all the pros and cons of a particular issue. This is rarely the case. Too often, hearings are high-tech lynchings with the questions — and answers — scripted, the gotcha moments carefully rehearsed and the outcomes, of course, predetermined.

McNicol suggests that Michelle Minton of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Minton should have been called to testify Wednesday.  Some Republicans, he claims, have requested she appear.

Minton believes that the states should determine whether online gambling needs to be prohibited within its own borders while arguing, if something is not harmful, why do we want to make it illegal?

Sure one can pose the argument about gambling addiction and kids somehow getting a hold their parent’s credit card.  Whose fault is that?

In the end, the only harm Internet gambling might be posing in the short term is to Adelson’s casino enterprise, and even that is yet to be determined.  His Sands of Las Vegas casino group is among the most profitable companies in the world.

Based on the Hearing Committee witness list – and assuming no add-ons – Gambling911.com can safely report its findings already:  Online gambling is very, very, very bad.  Case closed.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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