Sheldon Adelson Legal Issues Bode Well for Wire Act Fightback

March 1st, 2019 | by Kaycee James

US online poker anti-hero Sheldon Adelson may have to take a break from his assault on the industry due to mounting legal pressure and failing health.

US online gaming opponent Sheldon Adelson

Legal problems and health issues for Sheldon Adelson could be a blessing for US online gaming. (Image: Wikimedia/Bectrigger)

With Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political career in jeopardy, long-time ally and mega-donor Adelson may be dragged into the mire. With Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit recommending Netanyahu be indicted, the Las Vegas Sands owner is in the firing line.

Alleged Dodgy Deals Put Sheldon Adelson in Danger

Picking up on the February 28 recommendation, Washington Post reporter Adam Taylor pointed to an alleged media deal between Adelson, Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes.

“A quid pro quo agreement was allegedly negotiated with Arnon Mozes, publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, a major Israeli daily newspaper,” reads the article.

As per the alleged deal, Mozes would ensure Netanyahu received better coverage in return for Adelson limiting circulation of his free newspaper, Israel Hayom. All parties denied there being an under-the-table-deal but the accusations have stuck.

In tandem with political sparks threatening to torch Adelson’s reputation, the billionaire is facing troubles closer to home. Following a unanimous vote on February 26, a DC court has revived a $1 billion lawsuit against Adelson.

Named as one of the 30 pro-Israeli defendants, the casino magnate may be liable for restitution payments to Palestinians for alleged war crimes and support of settlements in the West Bank. As a named plaintiff, Adelson may have to appear in court, something he’s currently preparing for in Nevada.

Time is Right for Distractions

Richard Suen is suing Las Vegas Sands over a deal gone bad in Macau. The Hong Kong businessman is seeking compensation for what he says was significant assistance in getting Adelson lucrative concessions to operate casinos within the Chinese enclave.

Accusations aside, health could be the biggest factor in the case. 85-year-old Adelson is reportedly in poor health and may not be fit to testify, according to Nevada Independent report Howard Stutz.

For US online gaming, the distractions couldn’t come at a better time. With Adelson instrumental in the Wire Act U-turn threatening to halt the US betting industry’s recent surge, his legal issues could be a blessing in disguise.

Although Adelson has won favor with US politicians such as Mike Pence in the past, he remains the driving force behind the Coalition To Stop Internet Gambling. Pouring millions in the lobbying group has allowed the casino owner to apply pressure on those in power.

However, with his time and at least some of his money currently tied up, there are reasons for US online poker players to raise a smile.

With New Hampshire currently holding three lawsuits against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its Wire Act opinion, the Adelson scandal may buy the industry some much-needed breathing space.


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