Billionaire Sheldon Adelson sanctimoniously demanding a federal monopoly on the exploitation of fashionable debaucheries is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It is done awkwardly, but you are surprised to see it done at all. Mr. Adelson has accumulated a net worth of $33.6 billion. He is a casino magnate. His stupendous wealth comes from gratifying sordid hormonal cravings: instant riches and creature comforts worthy of King Louis XIV.
It may be that the casino czar sheds a tear for the collateral damage of his vulgar enterprises: personal bankruptcies; broken hearts; shattered families; and dissipated lives. But if he does, the tear dries quickly.Mr. Adelson fears that online gambling could diminish his hormonal-fueled profits. In the old days when merchants worried about competition, they privately conspired. Adam Smith recounts in Wealth of Nations: “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices…”
But that strategy for self-enrichment is old-fashioned in our Golden Age of Crony Capitalism besotted with legalized bribery to obtain protectionist legislation. Mr. Adelson followed the political gospel of Ohio Senator and campaign finance maestro for President William McKinley, Mark Hanna. “There are two things that are important in politics,” he explained. The first is money and I can’t remember what the second one is.”
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