The day after it became public that billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson gave $20 million to a super PAC with close ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-Ky.), three GOP senators introduced legislation that would effectively ban online gambling – a measure Adelson has long pushed for.
The super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, backs Senate Republicans and is run by McConnell’s former chief of staff Steven Law. The group received $28 million in August – more than it raised during the entire 2016 election cycle. The vast majority, 20 million, came from Adelson and his wife Miriam. The contributions were made public on Sept. 20, per Federal Election Commission filings. The legislation was introduced Sept. 21.
The bill is a revamped version of a previous Adelson-backed measure that would Internet gambling. The latest version was introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and co-sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). The measure would prohibit financial institutions from processing Internet gambling transactions.
Graham in 2015 introduced a previous version of the bill, Restoration of America’s Wire Act.
Adelson is a major GOP donor and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands. In 2013, he launched a campaign warning that Internet gambling is dangerous for children.