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Steve Tetreault

 

Adelson discussed online poker stance with Sen. Kyl

9 Dec 2011

By Steve Tetreault
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson has taken his opposition to online gambling to Capitol Hill, meeting with a key Republican senator involved in talks on legalizing Web poker.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., confirmed Thursday that he discussed Internet gaming and other issues with Adelson in a meeting last week.

Kyl, the second-ranking Republican leader in the Senate, declined to discuss the details of the conversation. But he said Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate who has been a generous supporter of Republican causes, had his ear.

"I always listen to Sheldon," Kyl said in a brief interview. "He is a very bright guy, very well motivated and I always find what he says is very interesting."

Kyl reportedly is engaged with Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in negotiations over a bill that would legalize online poker and establish regulations that would allow states to issue licenses for companies to set up virtual poker rooms.

Most of the Las Vegas casino industry has expressed eagerness to get online, viewing it as a lucrative new revenue stream and one that can be regulated effectively.

But Adelson publicly has broken ranks, telling leaders of the industry's government affairs arm, the American Gaming Association, that he doesn't believe technology has advanced to prevent underage gamblers from participating.

When asked about whom else Adelson spoke with in Washington, D.C., Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese said he wouldn't discuss details of the trip.

Kyl, the Senate Republican whip, declined to say what impact an Adelson push against legalized Internet gambling might have on the Senate negotiations. He noted no legislation yet has emerged.

"That is all hypothetical stuff," Kyl said. "I don't even know what bill you are talking about."

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