Who Bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Why Does it Matter?
Earlier this week, an unnamed buyer purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada’s largest daily newspaper, for an astonishing $140 million. That may not sound like a story that impacts the igaming world, but it’s much more important than you might think.
The Review-Journal sale is particularly puzzling for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its sale price. After all, this same paper sold earlier this year as part of a package that included 7 other daily and 65 weekly papers for $102 million. Given the fact that daily newspapers aren’t exactly a growth industry, that sale price seems very high.
So why would someone, someone with a tremendous amount of disposable income, spend so much money on a newspaper? With national elections just a year away and Nevada occupying a spot as a prime swing state, the answer to that question is likely going to lead to politics.
It’s not much of a stretch to picture some deep-pocketed tycoon with Nevada connections and an interest in influencing national elections shelling out some pocket change for a new toy newspaper. And in the state of Nevada, billionaire Sheldon Adelson is a man who definitely fits that description.
Adelson has made no secrets of his desire to influence politics by way of political contributions and he usually gets his money’s worth. His representatives in Congress, which include plenty of politicians who aren’t from Nevada, do his bidding without question.
Adelson is also a major opponent of online gambling. Again, it’s not a stretch to consider Adelson purchasing a newspaper he could use to influence the outcome of US Presdential election, in Nevada anyways, to curry favor with a future US President (provided that President is a Republican).
It will be interesting to see how this story plays out over time. Can one media outlet really impact the outcome of an election? Is Adelson really the buyer and, if he is, will he get a quid pro quo from a future President in the form of the Restoration of the American Wire Act (RAWA)?
These are significant questions that could wind up having a significant impact on the US-facing online gambling industry.