Federalism is one of the most innovative concepts the Founders put into our Constitution. It allows Nevada and New Jersey to legalize Internet gaming while, at the same time, it doesn’t mandate that Utah and South Carolina must do the same. States have the prerogative – the right – to establish these laws. The great irony here is that the very concept of federalism is what shaped the economic environment in Nevada that enabled Mr. Adelson to make his billions in land-based casinos. Nevada exercised its right to make legal – gambling casinos – what other states criminalized.
Supporters of Adelson’s bill in Congress are turning their backs on the first principles of our Constitutional order solely to help a political supporter. The Graham/Chaffetz bill seeks to reward those who deal in favors and create law that benefits a single, special self-interest at the expense of entrepreneurs and free markets. Sheldon Adelson might be a great American – donating hundreds of millions of dollars to Republican groups and causes – but that doesn’t justify abandoning first principles.
The Graham-Chaffetz bill is not about gambling. It is about undermining federalism and promoting crony capitalism. Congress should reject this billion-dollar power play.
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