In the US – and probably globally, US President Donald Trump can usually be expected to grab headlines for almost everything he does, and this week the media have picked up on a report by Pro Publica and WNYC that Trump told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a recent visit he should strongly consider allowing Las Vegas Sands owner and multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson to open a casino in the country.
Adelson’s spokesman, Ron Reese, has already denied the claim.
“If our company has any advantage, it would be because of our significant Asian operating experience and our unique convention-based business model,” Reese told ProPublica/WNYC. “Any suggestion we are favored for some other reason is not based on the reality of the process in Japan or the integrity of the officials involved in it.”
US media reports recall that Abe also met with Adelson during his visit in February 2017, a month after Trump assumed office.
Since then Abe has advanced legislation that would allow casinos to open in Japan, although it is not clear yet that Adelson’s Sands operation would be given a license.
Adelson, one of the wealthiest men in the world worth around $35 billion, and an ardent Republican supporter, allegedly donated $20 million to help elect Trump and another $5 million for his inauguration.
His oft-stated rationale for backing Trump is the president’s Israel policy, which aligns closely with the Israeli right wing.
ProPublica/WNYC listed other benefits that have accrued to Adelson, including a provision in last year’s tax revamp that gives a break to companies that incur high taxes abroad. Adelson paid lobbyists to argue for the provision, and Sands saved $1.2 billion because of it, the report claims.
InfoPowa readers will of course recall that Adelson is a vehement opponent of online gambling legalisation in the USA and has in recent years spent significant sums via action groups like CSIG and various lobbying firms.