In 2001 Adelson - well known for his right-wing views and close ties to GOP politicians - met with the mayor of Beijing in the course of promoting his Las Vegas Sands Inc. casino business to the Chinese ruling group. Adelson saw his entrprise as a perfect fit for the island of Macao, a former Portugese colony which is controlled as a "special administrative region" by China and which had been exempted from the Communist Party's bans on gambling.
|Global gambling mogul Adelson|
According to The New Yorker (citing testimony in court documents filed in an eventual lawsuit when one of Adelson's presumed business partners alleged he had been ripped off by the casino mogul):
Adelson said in court he immediately made calls on his cell phone to Republican friends in Congress—including Tom DeLay, then the majority whip—who had received generous support from Adelson. DeLay told him that there was indeed a resolution pending about China and the Olympics.Adelson, of course, got his casino licenses from the Chinese rulers - edging out the competition and, in effect, getting a sweetheart deal just one notch below being able to print money. Further, according to The New Yorker:
Representative Tom Lantos, then the highest-ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, had introduced a resolution opposing China’s Olympic bid, saying, “China’s abominable human rights record violates the spirit of the games and should disqualify Beijing from consideration.”
(Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Inc. chief executive Bill) Weidner... described the relationship between DeLay—“a very religious guy”—and Adelson. “The link between Sheldon Adelson and right-wing religious Christians is the commonality of a strong Israel,” he said. “So it just happens to be Sheldon has taken Tom DeLay to Israel and he’s a friend.” DeLay told Adelson that he supported the resolution because of his concern about China’s record on human rights but added that he would be discussing the legislative agenda shortly. “Sheldon folds his cell phone up and says to the mayor of Beijing, ‘I’m going to do my best,’ ” Weidner said. “About three hours later DeLay calls and he tells Sheldon, ‘You’re in luck,’ ” he continued, “ ‘because we’ve got a military-spending bill. . . . We’re not going to be able to move the bill, so you tell your mayor that he can be assured that this bill will never see the light of day.’ So Sheldon goes and he goes to the mayor and he says, ‘The bill will never see the light of day, Mr. Mayor. Don’t worry about it.’ ”
By the end of 2006, Macao had become the top gambling center in the world, with gaming revenues exceeding $6.9 billion, a quarter of a billion dollars more than those on the Las Vegas Strip. In 2007, revenues climbed to $10.3 billion. That year, Adelson opened the $2.4-billion Venetian Macao—with canals and stripe-shirted gondoliers, as well as an extensive shopping mall and a five-hundred-and-forty-six-thousand-square-foot casino, which is the largest in the world. Since the Sands Macao opened, his personal wealth has multiplied more than fourteen times, and, according to the Times, in the two years after his company went public he earned roughly a million dollars an hour...
Now Las Vegas Sands plans to create “the Las Vegas Strip of Asia” on Cotai—an area of reclaimed land between two small islands, connected by bridges to Macao’s peninsula—spending an additional ten billion dollars to build a dozen new hotels, with twenty thousand rooms, and adjacent casinos...
At a groundbreaking ceremony, in March, 2007, Adelson said that many members of Congress criticize China for its human-rights record, but he added that he liked the way the Chinese run their country. (emphasis added)
(Via UP with Chris Hayes)