Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman wants to avoid politics. Last year, he criticized Washington politicians‘ lack of “capacity to find pragmatic solutions,” resulting in a “dysfunctional” debate.
Almost sounding fiscally conservative, Loveman favors entitlement reform over tax increases, age and/or income eligibility as key to “means testing” Social Security and Medicare programs and a long-term strategy.
When asked about Washington’s politics during a recent television interview, Loveman punted. Only discussing Caesars issues, he said:
• Gambling revenues are flat, but international visitors have increased. Caesars‘s $1 billion hotel renovations, restaurants, clubs and retail investment aims at younger customers. Las Vegas visitors‘ average low 40s age reflects a five-year drop since 2010.
• Supporting regulated U.S. online poker will eliminate illegal offshore sites.
• Caesars doesn’t typically confront minimum wage issues since the heavily-unionized food and guest services staff usually earns more.
Ruled free political speech, two U.S. Supreme Court decisions – Citizens United and McCutcheon – now permit virtually unlimited corporate, union and individual campaign donations to candidates and political parties.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending $50 million to promote gun control candidates; other Democratic billionaires support environmental and social causes.
Holding considerable Republican “sway“ at 80, Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson has perhaps been gaming’s most politically visible and vocal executive. With an estimated worth of $40.8 billion, Adelson and his wife Miriam give hundreds of millions to charity.
But, Adelson contributed $93 million during the 2012 elections and plans another round of big bucks this year. He will also plow plenty into coalitions for his key issues.
In March, Adelson’s Venetian hosted the annual spring Republican Jewish Coalition meeting. Several potential candidates spoke directly to big donors, soliciting not only Adelson’s support, but also theirs.
For those crying foul, too late…these folks can now legally spend their money as they see fit. Ironically, cash doesn’t guarantee victory; races have turned on message over money, with winners significantly outspent.
I care more about those lawmakers whose double standards blast their opponents’ conduct while ignoring their own. Educated voters need to cut through the spin and vitriol from everyone, which again leads me to Nevada Democrat Senator Harry Reid. As the Senate’s Majority Leader – the chamber’s most powerful position – his actions and comments have greater impact than anyone else’s.
From the Senate floor, Reid has called Republican politicians, voters and many who disagree with his proposals “anarchists“ and “liars.” Exempt from libel and slander laws on the Senate floor, this trained lawyer accuses and maligns without evidence or named sources.
His latest target? Two conservative billionaire businessmen, brothers Charles and David Koch. Reid has relentlessly labeled them “anti-American” law breakers who buy power and elections.
Really? In 2011, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that Reid’s son Josh was hired as Henderson‘s city attorney, despite lacking published minimum credentials. Soon after the good senator made a few strategic phone calls, Henderson’s officials “coincidentally” revised their standards. The younger Reid got the job.
I don’t know the Kochs, but how bad can they be? Their foundations have contributed hundreds of millions to cancer research, hospitals and the New York City arts, which is home to the taxpaying constituents of New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer – another anti-Koch crusader.
Congressional Quarterly’s Moneyline reports Democrats have received $1.4 million in contributions from the brothers’ KochPAC since 2000. Reid accepted $500 (2003); Schumer $1,000 (2010).
I understand many Nevada industry members have personal ties to Reid, but it’s enough already. As a nonpartisan, I cringe at this lack of civility. For millions like me, we are private citizens first and expect better.
Loveman plays it the safest, but at least Adelson refrains from verbal insults. After all, they could be his customers who might desert his casinos for other properties.
If only the career politicians would knock off the ugly talk and do something productive so Gary Loveman could be the great gaming ambassador he is and convey more positive results on television.