Meet the King Lear of slot machines:
A push by the billionaire casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson to outlaw online gambling has ignited a bitter civil war in the gambling industry, dividing one of Washington's most powerful interest groups and posing a major test of the Republican donor's political clout.I get that Adelson runs brick-and-mortar casinos and that online gambling threatens to cut into his business. But Adelson will be 81 freaking years old in August. He's worth $37 billion. In life's race, he won. That's basically the final score. Trying to run it up now makes him look like the Rolling Stones, who just seem more and more pathetic as they trot their septuagenarian greatest-hits show around the world every couple of years just to make more money they don't need.
Mr. Adelson's effort officially kicked off on Wednesday, when lawmakers, including a senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has accepted tens of thousands of dollars in donations from the businessman and his family, introduced legislation originally drafted with Mr. Adelson's lobbyist.
The bill would close a three-year-old loophole in federal law by banning online gambling -- a growing industry that Mr. Adelson argues is bad for casinos and gamblers -- and shutting down online gambling in a handful states that recently legalized it.
The dispute has already largely sidelined the industry's powerful trade group, the American Gaming Association, after Mr. Adelson threatened to withdraw from the organization if it continued to back expanded online gambling, according to several industry executives....
I can understand that an idealistic sense of how American should be governed, or what might protect the state of Israel, might motivate Adelson well into old age, even if I don't agree with his ideals. But we're talking about casinos here. It's just work. Yeah, you built it, Sheldon, but that's done, and we all agree that it was done with great success. You just want to keep winning the game because, somewhere in the back of your mind, you really think you're not going to die.
I don't even know if an abstract sense of what's good for America even qualifies as one motivation for Adelson's interventions into politics -- he mostly just seems to want to rig the game for people like him beyond his death. That also seems to be the motivation of the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch, and even a non-plutocrat like Roger Ailes. The Kochs in particular seem to want to induce mass ignorance on fossil fuels and climate change just so purveyors of traditional energy will continue to rake in huge profits -- purveyors like themselves, even though they won't be around much longer. For that they're willing to tear apart the country. For that they're willing to support causes far outside their ambit -- Stand Your Ground, restrictions on abortion -- just to keep white heartlanders voting Republican. It's their life's work, even at the end of their lives. They refuse to stop trying to win even though they've already won. I don't get it.