Casino magnate Adelson adds ex-congressman to his team of lobbyists

Former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) is lobbying for Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson on legislation that would ban online gambling, according to federal records.

The addition of Mack gives a boost to the push to make Internet gambling illegal across the country, a cause of which tycoon and GOP mega-donor Adelson has become the most prominent supporter.

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Mack, who lost his 2012 challenge to Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), will lobby for Las Vegas Sands Corp. in support of the bill introduced earlier this year as well as broader “federal policy issues related to Internet gaming,” new lobbying disclosure records show. 

The hire comes a few weeks after Adelson’s company hired another K Street firm, The Keelen Group, to focus on the issue.

Adelson says he is morally opposed to online gambling and rejects suggestions that the lobbying effort is aimed at protecting his casino business.

In all, seven lobbying firms have worked for the Las Vegas Sands Corp. this year to battle legalized Internet casinos, which some states are using to help fill government coffers.

The bill to ban online gambling from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) would overturn a 2011 Justice Department decision allowing states to legalize the games within their borders. 

So far, Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legalized some form of the games, and other states have considered following suit.

Supporters of a ban say they are merely trying to make sure that every smartphone and laptop in the country doesn’t become a casino where children have easy access, but opponents say that legalized gambling would allow for safe and regulated outlets, instead of the slew of black market sites that currently exist.