A few of Nevada's key decision makers have fallen for Sheldon Adelson's move to ban Internet gambling in the United States, according to a report released by the Las Vegas Review Journal. The report says that Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) and Senate Major Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have come together to work out a federal bill that would ban all forms of Internet gambling except poker.
Since Adelson has jumped on his bandwagon and began spreading the word that he will utilize his fortunes to fight Internet gambling, the wolf pack has gained momentum. The next few weeks should produce legislation in Nevada when Heller and Reid's bill is drawn up that could make Adelson smile, but then again, a clause to allow online poker in the US may not work for him either. Nevada is folding to Adelson's big bet and New Jersey's Sen. Lesniak is getting ready to shove back.
Heller has voiced his support for Adelson in that some of Adelson's concerns are reasonable — according to the LVRJ on Thursday. Heller is leaning to Adelson's stance that nationwide online gambling could have serious social implications. Adelson has made it very clear that he believes that Internet gambling is "a danger to children, the poor, and others who could be exploited by easy access to Internet betting."
Heller also believes that Internet entities could have a negative impact on the business of Nevada's casinos who would suffer from the competition.
"I think the devastation for bricks and mortar (casinos) in this state … would just be a final nail, I think, in keeping these businesses healthy," Heller told the LVRJ.
Heller expects legislative resistance from those who would stand against Adelson's shove to eliminate Internet gambling — those included are the American Gaming Association (AGA) which has promised to fight against Adelson's anti-online gambling stance. Last month the AGA and MGM Resorts International backed the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection, a Washington-based organization dedicated to fight against Adelson's proposed iGaming ban.
"Right now there’s a majority probably around here that want nothing done," Heller said on Thursday. "You know, they want it wild wild West when it comes to Internet gambling. And I don’t think that’s good."
In 2012 Heller and Reid tried to get a bill passed that would make all online gambling — except poker — illegal. The end of the year came and went without the bill making its way through the lame-duck session of Congress.