Adelson reminded that, even in Nevada, it’s not easy being kingBy John L. Smith, CDC Gaming ReportsNovember 7, 2018 at 8:00 pmNevada history is crammed with self-appointed kings.Whether it was the silver barons of the Comstock Lode era, banker and political racketeer George Wingfield, crude Senate powerhouse Pat McCarran, or eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, their audacious grasps for absolute power remain jaw-dropping even with the passage of time.Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon AdelsonBut almost any way you measure it, multibillionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson tops them all.The silver kings had their day, Wingfield eventually busted out, McCarran was revealed as a racist and anti-Semite, and Hughes was nuttier than Aunt Betty’s fruitcake and about as likable as Simon Legree.Adelson is bigger than they ever imagined.And the best part is, as the growing legend goes, he started with so little back in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the son of a cab driver who hawked newspapers on tough street corners.The gold of his Las Vegas Sands Corp. casino empire has made him one of the world’s richest men. He’s a major presence in Israel and a key advisor to President Donald Trump. As if to illustrate the fact, on election night Adelson dined at the White House with the president and other top insiders.It was there he saw the Revisionist in Chief receive a substantial snubbing of the loutish style and tone-deaf policies as the Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives. It was there no one was likely to remind Adelson that he’d spent in excess of $100 million on Republican and personal political causes in the midterm election, according to multiple published reports.In Nevada, Democrats trounced Adelson’s favored candidates in nothing less than a blue steamroller. Adelson invested heavily and lost thoroughly. For a man with the largest check book and the state’s largest newspaper firing off editorial broadsides and columns that resembled in-kind contributions, it’s hard to call it money well spent.Then there’s the Question 3 debacle. Adelson was a driving force and the deep pockets behind a coalition that spent years trying to change the regulatory structure of the state’s electrical utility. It was a question that breezed through the previous election cycle by a wide margin.But then NV Energy, also known as Warren Buffett’s utility monopoly, responded and dumped millions into a counterattack. It’s estimated nearly $100 million was raised in the battle of titans in what was easily one of the most expensive political fights in the country.Other casino companies, Wynn Resorts Ltd., Caesars Entertainment Corp. and MGM Resorts International, paid millions to exit NV Energy. Adelson refused to pay an exit fee for Las Vegas Sands and instead decided to duke it out in the political arena.On Tuesday night, the lights went out on Question 3, which was labeled by opponents as “dangerous and costly.”Still not sure how dangerous it was. But it was undeniably costly.As an aside, the awful Oakland Raiders are moving to Las Vegas in 2020 to play in a costly new stadium thanks in great part to Adelson’s influence and lobbying effort. The state Legislature went into special session to approve the deal, which includes using $750 million in hotel room taxes.We live in an era when the wealthiest Americans have unprecedented influence over the national political scene. And Adelson has made no secret of his willingness to be one of those influencers.Even after a disastrous season of politics that saw him blow millions in an attempt to control everything from the Nevada Governor’s Mansion to the state’s largest power company, I doubt Adelson has much trouble sleeping.And if insomnia should strike, he can always count his billions long into the night.For although it’s not always easy being king, it sure beats driving a cab or selling newspapers on a street corner.Contact John L. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @jlnevadasmith.