Casinos Covering All the Political Bases

23 Oct 2012 | 09:13 Author: Seth Shafer

Casinos have donated heavily this election cycle but so far have spread their beats equally around the table.

Nevada casinos have freely opened their coffers to political candidates through donations but they've played it cautiously and backed both Democrats and Republicans.

Casinos throughout the US are expected to donate over $50 million on candidates, lobbying efforts, and campaign donations, with a large chunk of that coming from major Las Vegas casino groups such as Harrah's, MGM, and Las Vegas Sands.

That figure includes the personal largess of Sheldon Adelson, who donated a whopping $34 million through September backing largely Republican candidates, including heavy donations to the Mitt Romney campaign.

Even if you subtract Adelson's contributions the casino industry is on pace to donate close to $20 million, slightly above the 2008 election cycle total of $17 million.

As far as picking a Presidential winner, so far it's a wash with Obama and Romney receiving about the same money from the casino industry, with Vegas casinos tipping towards Romney while donations outside Nevada slightly favor Obama.

The bulk of the spending by casinos is going to candidates vying for House and Senate seats, where many feel their generosity goes farther and has a greater impact as far as gambling-friendly legislation votes in the future.

Online poker has become a hot topic and is partially responsible for some of the casino donations, with the gambling industry in the US crossing their fingers that either federal or state legislation is enacted in coming years to legalize and tax online poker.

Many casinos are still feeling the effects of the recession in the US and see online poker as a way to add extra revenue streams and stimulate gambling across other games and offerings as well.

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