Poker enthusiast Cary Katz’s political donations in 2014 have eclipsed those of Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, according to a recent round-up of public contributors. Despite being online poker’s anti-hero, Adelson, who is doing his best to buy the good graces of federal candidates across America, it’s actually Nevada’s Katz who has publicly invested more than anyone else in the Silver State’s potential political base.
The information came to light thanks to data collated by the Center for Responsive Politics, which took into account the top 100 contributors to “federal candidates, parties, political action committees, 527 organizations super PACs and Carey committees.”
Topping the table of political sympathizers with contributions totaling $20,453,034 was Thomas Steyer and Kathryn Ann Steyer of Next Generation. Of those with a foot into the gambling industry, Katz emerged as the biggest contributor from Nevada, with $858,200 to date in donations during 2014. That figure was more than enough to eclipse the $466,200 Adelson is reported to have donated during the latest election cycle.
In 2013, Forbes reported that Adelson will spend “whatever it takes” to ban what he believes to be a scourge on society; or “online poker,” as most people like to call it. Almost twelve months later, news outlets such as thedailybeast.com are reporting that “whatever it takes” could amount to $100 million in dark donations. Under IRS rules, donations to conservative nonprofit organizations can be masked, which means the full extent of Adelson’s contributions won’t be reflected in the latest polls.
Three Republican representatives have allegedly stated that Adelson is donating a nine-figure sum this year in an effort to help the GOP capture the Senate. According to the same sources, the main recipients of Adelson’s generosity have been: Americans for Prosperity, Crossroads GPS, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the US Chamber of Commerce; all of which have Republican interests, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows Adelson and political bents.
By helping to fund the political aspirations of various organizations and federal candidates, Adelson is hoping to buy support for his anti-online gambling campaign. Although he has claimed that stopping virtual poker and casino games isn’t because it poses a threat to his casino empire, many have suggested his protests are designed to negatively affect his competition.
Quite what all this means for the poker industry is unclear. Although Katz has outmuscled Adelson when it comes to publicly disclosed contributions, it seems as though the casino magnate is still working hard behind-the-scenes to leave his mark on the Senate. Of course, when it comes down to deciding whether or not online poker should be regulated in the US, it won’t be Mr. Adelson making the casting vote. However, many industry insiders fear that a man with such political power could be harmful for the industry.