Lobbying Firms Hired by Adelson and Amaya in Online Gambling Battle

In the United States, online gambling is a hot topic of debate. Only three states have decided to legalize online gambling activities after the Department of Justice decided to reinterpret the Wire Act of 1961. New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware all provide online gambling options after legalizing the activity and putting regulations in place. Once states could decide individually to put legislation in place, the arguments began.

Sheldon Adelson is a major player in the casino gaming industry as the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands. Adelson was not interested in online gambling, even though his state offers online poker gaming. Adelson soon became a strong opponent of iGaming, including creating the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. Efforts were made to create legislation such as RAWA that would stop online gambling from taking place in the US.

Now, Adelson has reportedly hired a lobbying firm to help with their efforts. The Hill has reported that Adelson has hired The Keelen Group, which is a Washington D.C. based lobbying firm. Apparently, the biggest client of the firm is The Sands. The lobbying firm will help with efforts by Adelson and the Sands in trying to stop online gambling in the US.

The Hill also found that Amaya Gaming has hired a lobbying firm to assist with their efforts in keeping online gaming going in the United States. C SA Strategies is working with Amaya gaming as well as Alejandro Urrea will be working to take on any issues involving online gambling licensing. It appears that the Poker Players Alliance, a strong supporter of online gaming, is a top client of C SA and it seems that Urrea will be able to easily handle helping Amaya gaming with strategies.

Amaya Gaming has made it clear why they would have hired a lobbying company, but it is unknown as to exactly why the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling has hired a firm for assistance. We do know that Adelson and his cronies will stop at nothing to try and stop the online gambling industry from thriving in the US. Adelson feels threatened and wants to see his casino do well, feeling threatened by the online gaming options.

After introducing the RAWA legislation in the Senate and the House, the bill was unable to move forward. Legislators were not quick to support the legislation and by March, it was reported that Adelson and the Coalition were turning their focus from RAWA and start focusing on fighting against offshore online gambling sites offering services illegal within the United States. The Coalition would like to see a federal prohibition of the activity.

If this is the true focus of the Coalition and Adelson, it could be assumed that the Keelen Group will be working on this area instead of going back to RAWA. Or Adelson could be trying something totally different. It seems that Adelson’s main focus is online gambling and it will be interesting to see how the CEO uses the lobbying group for his interests against online gambling.

For now, efforts of states are starting to focus on online gambling in several areas. California and Pennsylvania are front runners in online gaming legislation while other states such as Michigan are just now getting into the fray. Daily fantasy sports betting has also been introduced into the mix. States are starting to look at the activity and determine if the contests are legal or illegal based on state laws. Some states such as Tennessee are creating legislation to regulate the DFS industry.

Changes are definitely taking shape in the United States, in all areas of online gaming!