If Sheldon Adelson was hoping to be hailed at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, he got a rude surprise. Attendees blew a raspberry to his pet cause, Protect America’s Wire Act. One dissident, Institute for Liberty President Andrew Langer was right on the money, as it were, when he said, “Conservatives see RAWA for what it is—one of the worst forms of crony capitalism in Congress today. RAWA is nothing short of an effort by one of the richest men in the world to ban a form of competition for his brick and mortar casino empire – and everyone knows it. Worse yet, he is even willing to trample on the Constitution to do it.” It would also have the presumption to outlaw online state lotteries, already a facet of life in many U.S. jurisdictions. Sheldon would remake American gaming in his own image.
Attendees at the conclave were polled and 90% came out against federal meddling in state-regulated gambling. A similar number said that RAWA was a violation of the Tenth Amendment. Mind you, it was a push-poll that used loaded verbiage. However, Tenth Amendment concerns are a serious issue and helped sink RAWA during the last Congress. In the meantime, there’s a jailbreak on i-gaming in several states. If Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (pictured) is to be believed, New York State is closest to the finish line. Michigan is harder to call, especially with some established gaming interests against legalization.
* Could Wynn Boston Harbor be wrested from its owner’s hands? Will the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority settle for monetary damages? Who knows, but the Mohegan tribe’s challenge to the award of an Everett casino to Wynn puts a cloud on the property — scheduled for a June 2019 opening — and its future. Wynn execs are taking a business-as-usual approach and continuing with construction as planned. As for the impact of gambling on Massachusetts so far, the state gaming commission records no increase in crime around Plainridge Park, nor any damage to the state lottery. Vehicular accident are up, as is credit card crime, so there’s work to be done.
* Wall Street is all over the map with regard to casinos in Japan. One analyst, Alex Bumazhny of Fitch Ratings, puts the potential market at a conservative $10 billion annually. More buoyant, several others put it at $40 billion a year. Can Japanese punters be weaned away from their beloved pachinko? And will the Nipponese authorities take a page from Singapore‘s book and impose admission fees on its citizenry. The bottom line seems to be that nobody really knows.