Posted on: February 27, 2022, 11:18h.
Last updated on: February 27, 2022, 11:18h.
Las Vegas casinos and the billionaires who own them are donating substantial amounts of money across the political aisle for Nevada’s 2022 gubernatorial election.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (D) endured a most difficult first term as governor. The former Clark County commissioner’s first four years in the state’s preeminent governmental role will largely be remembered for how he handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
Republican Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo is emerging as the odds-on favorite to challenge Sisolak. Nevada’s 2022 gubernatorial election is set for November 8. Lombardo is perhaps best known for being the face of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s (LVMPD) response to the October 1, 2017, mass shooting that occurred from Mandalay Bay. The horrific event left 58 victims dead.
Las Vegas’ most powerful people, including casino owners and executives, are funding the Sisolak and Lombardo campaigns. The latest PredictIt betting market on the outcome gives the Republican candidate a 59% chance of victory.
Sisolak is facing a difficult reelection in Nevada, a rather unique state in that it votes both red and blue. Of the past 10 Nevada governors, five have been Democrats and five have been Republicans.
As for his 2022 efforts, Sisolak is receiving much money from casino interests.
2021 campaign finance records supplied show that Sisolak last year received $10,000 cash contributions from multiple MGM Resorts casinos, including Excalibur, Aria, Park MGM, Vdara, Luxor, and New York-New York. MGM’s Signature Condominiums and Shadow Creek Golf Course additionally gave $10,000 each.
MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle and MGM’s former CEO Jim Murren each bequeathed the $10,000 maximum amount. Las Vegas Sands CEO Rob Goldstein gave that amount as well.
Caesars Entertainment cut numerous $10,000 checks to Sisolak by way of Caesars Palace, Paris, Planet Hollywood, and Bally’s. Caesars CEO Tom Reeg, however, did not give.
The billionaire Fertitta family — owners of Station Casinos and majority stakeholders of Red Rock Resorts — also spread out its Sisolak donations. Though typically Republican stalwarts, Frank Fertitta III and his brother Lorenzo Fertitta each gave $10,000 to Sisolak.
Frank’s wife Jill Fertitta, as well as their daughters Victoria and Kelley-Ann, also each gave $10,000. Lorenzo’s wife Angele did, too. Two Fertitta-controlled trust funds additionally gave a combined $20,000. In total, Sisolak’s 2022 campaign collected $80,000 from the Fertittas.
The Sisolak campaign reported total monetary contributions of $4.31 million in 2021.
On the Republican side, Lombardo’s campaign disclosed $2.9 million in monetary contributions last year.
MGM Resorts is a major donor on the Republican side as well. MGM Resorts International donated $10,000 to Lombardo’s political aspirations, plus $5,000 each from Mirage and Excalibur.
Treasure Island and Circus Circus owner Phil Ruffin, a devoted GOP donor who heavily supported former Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, gave $10,000 to Lombardo. UFC President Dana White — also a resilient backer of Republicans — cut a check for $10,000.
South Point owner Michael Gaughan gave $10,000. Boyd Gaming is also supportive of Lombardo, the company giving $25,000 by way of its Cannery, Suncoast, The Orleans, and Sam’s Town casinos.
Disgraced casino billionaire Steve Wynn and his wife Andrea gave a combined $20,000.
Westgate Resort & Casino and Aliante Hotel & Casino each chipped in $5,000. Marnell Gaming and Mesquite Gaming each gave $10,000.